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Zimbabwean court halts ex-minister's eviction

by Staff reporter
16 Nov 2023 at 05:04hrs | Views
BULAWAYO High Court judge Justice Bongani Ndlovu last Friday issued an interdict barring government from evicting former Cabinet minister Moses Mzila-Ndlovu from his farm in Matobo district, Matabeleland South province.

Mzila-Nldovu, a Zipra war veteran and former National Healing and Reconciliation co-minister, has occupied the farm for the past 19 years.

His lawyer Nqobani Sithole said: "The application for interdict was granted on Friday last week."

Government officials recently visited Mzila-Ndlovu's farm to inform him that he was an illegal occupant.

This was despite him having produced a letter dated November 2, 2009 from the Matobo district acting lands officer, a P K Mhlanga granting him a lease of the Khami Magazine Site, the piece of land he is occupying.

The letter read: "This letter serves to confirm that Moses Mzila-Ndlovu was granted permission to lease Khami Magazine Site, being a State land measuring 360,3163 hectares by Matobo District Lands Committee."

Mzila-Ndlovu approached the court to challenge his eviction.

In his application filed at the Bulawayo High Court under case number 1760/23, Mzila-Ndlovu cited Matobo district lands officer Johanes Zifudze, secretary in the Lands ministry, Lands ministry, officer-in-charge Figtree Police Station, Officer Commanding Matabeleland South province, the surveyor-general and the Sheriff of Zimbabwe as respondents, respectively.

He submitted that he has legally occupied the farm since 2004.

He noted that the farm was held by deed of grant, granted by the Queen of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland to a body corporate named African Explosives and Chemicals Industries (Rhodesia) Limited.

"Since then, applicant enjoyed undisturbed possession, beneficial use and control of the said property until August 11, 2023, when the first respondent (Zifudze) brought in scores of people to the property to peg and dish out stands to them and to arbitrarily evict applicant from the use and control of about 200 hectares of the 360,3163 hectare farm," the application read.

"The Zimbabwe land reform programme at its peak found me already settled at the farm, having built a full-fledged homestead there. It had come to my knowledge that such land a private company was leasing out to me at prohibitive rentals was State land."

The war veteran said Zifudze started threatening to evict him in June this year.

"In June 2023, (Zifudze), without notice, drove into my homestead in a convoy of top-of-the-range unmarked vehicles to advise me that he had decided to peg out pieces of land from the land I had occupied since 2004, so that such land be parcelled out to new beneficiaries, leaving me with my homestead and an out of place remaining portion of land thus surrounding my homestead with new arrivals," Mzila-Ndlovu submitted.

He submitted that Zifudze and the Lands ministry have always been aware of his presence at the farm since 2004 and regarded him as their tenant.

Source - southern eye