Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

***The views expressed in the articles published on this website DO NOT necessarily express the views of the Commercial Farmers' Union.***

Mnangagwa aide dragged to court

Mnangagwa aide dragged to court 

Tabitha Mutenga Staff Reporter 

FARM workers evicted from Cente­nary Farm in Figtree have taken dep­uty chief secretary to the Office of the President and Cabinet, Ray Ndhlukula, to court claiming over $561 000 in loss of property and violation of their constitutional rights. 

Centenary Farm in Matabeleland South province was owned by white farmer Dave Connolly, who was, however, forced off the land by Ndhlukula in 2014. The white farmer has been involved in a protracted legal battle with Ndhlukula since then despite the fact that High Court judge Justice Joseph Musakwa ruled in 2016 that Ndhlukula’s occupa­tion of the property was illegal. 

Connolly, through his company, JC Con­nolly and Sons (Pvt) Ltd, has since 2014 been locked in a bitter wrangle to stop the expropriation of the farm. 

“Centenary Farm, my property, is still oc­cupied by Dr Ray Ndhlukula, despite there being a contempt of court order against him. Fortunately I have been able to keep a very close record of the loss of income that I have suffered as a result of my not been able to make use of my investment,” Connolly told The Financial Gazette. 

Under case number 1414/15, 24 farm workers at Centenary Farm have now taken Ndhlukula to court under four claims. 

The first claim, involves violation of their constitutional rights, for which they are claiming $250 000. 

The second claim is for $250 000 for emotional trauma, psychological distress, loss of dignity and contumelia as a result of the unlawful takeover of the farm. 

The third claim, amounting to $60 000, is for emotional distress and psychological trauma as a result of the abuse of minors. 

The fourth claim, amounting to $1 700, arises from the loss of tuckshop goods and other incidentals. 

The chaos brought about by the country’s 2000 land reform programme resulted in the displacement of nearly 350 000 farm work­ers. Their dependants numbered between 1,8 million and two million. Many farm workers lost their work because the resettled farmers lacked the financial resources and production capacity to absorb them. 

Connolly is 100 percent behind his farm workers in this legal battle so that they receive fair compensation for loss of their live­lihoods. 

“My farm workers, through, the legal system, have claimed amounts varying from $10 000 to $50 000 after they were illegal­ly evicted from Centenary Farm by Dr Ray Ndhlukula on 6 September 2014. 

“I look forward to the day when they re­ceive their pay-outs from Dr Ndhlukula, “Connolly said. 

Under case number H.C. 1413/15, Connolly is also claiming $1,7 million for losses incurred when Ndhlu­kula took over the farm. 

“On the 15th August 2017, I filed papers with the President, the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Lands putting them on notice that I would be suing them under the “Southern African Development Com­munity (SADC) Investment Protocol which Zimbabwe is a signatory to. This action will be for the loss of income as a result of me not been able to make use of a proven investment,” Connolly said. 

This protocol provides a six-month window period for an out-of-court settlement The notice expired on February 15, 2018.

“As I expected, ‘the Zimbabwe government has re­mained silent,” he said. 

A group of white farmers in 2015 successfully auc­tioned a property in Cape Town belonging to the Zim­babwe government to settle legal expenses incurred in cases involving the SADC Tribunal.

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