Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Businessman, villagers locked in land row

Businessman, villagers locked in land row

April 1, 2015 Local News

Mashudu Netsianda Senior Court Reporter
A BULAWAYO businessman is locked in a protracted land ownership wrangle with 14 resettled villagers at Shashani Estate in Bulilima-Mangwe district. Pardon Machemedze, a cattle rancher, has filed an urgent chamber application seeking an interdict permanently barring the villagers from their continued occupation of the farm.

According to the court papers filed at the Bulawayo High Court last week by his lawyers Webb, Low and Barry, Machemedze is the applicant while the villagers led by Elvin Mabhena, Lands and Rural Settlements minister, Douglas Mombeshora and Romiel Mthimkhulu, the chief lands officer for Matabeleland South, were cited as respondents.

In his founding affidavit, Machemedze said he was the lawful occupant of the farm, arguing that he had an offer letter.

“This is an application for an order evicting the 14 respondents from Shashani Estate and permanently interdicting them from continued occupation of the land in question. I’m the lawful occupier of Sub-Division 1 of Shashani Estate by virtue of an offer letter issued to me on August 5, 2004,” said Machemedze.

He said he bought a property known as Anfield Farm from Manda Farms (Pvt) Ltd in October 2001 but was asked to vacate the farm by the government which offered him alternative land at Shashani Estate.

“In November the farm was forcibly occupied  by war veterans from Plumtree on the misconception that it was previously a Zapu farm. I attempted to  secure government intervention by producing documents to show that the farm had never been linked to Zapu in any way. In January 2002, I was called to a meeting at the district administrator’s offices in Plumtree during which I was then offered an alternative piece of land to compensate for my loss,” said Machemedze.

“I was offered land at Shashani Estate measuring 2,460 hectares and immediately occupied it,” he said.

Machemedze said “his farm” was nine months later invaded by villagers from Matobo District among them the 14 respondents.

The cattle farmer said he had to approach the courts after exhausting all avenues to reclaim the land from the villagers.

“Despite the offer letter, the 14 respondents and those acting under, with and through them continued to occupy my land. I have tried on several occasions to secure protection from the police and government to no avail,” said Machemedze.

The villagers, through their lawyers Phulu and Ncube Partners, argued that Machemedze had no right to evict them from land that has been acquired by the state.

In his founding affidavit, Mangena said villagers were allocated the land by the Matobo District lands committee in 2002.

“It is denied that we are in unlawful occupation of Shashani Estate. We were allocated the land in  2002 by the Matobo District lands committee and pegging was done by Arex. If indeed we were illegal occupiers of the land in question I believe that there is no way that the state would have required us to pay land tax.

“The applicant has no locus standi to bring these proceedings. It’s the acquiring authority that has the right at law to evict anyone on the acquired land,” said Mangena.

He said the letter that the applicant was basing his course of action on was a nullity.

“It relates to Bulilima-Mangwe district yet purports to allocate to applicant a piece of land in Matobo district. That’s not possible as nothing arises out  of a nullity.”



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