Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Moffat loses case in land row

Moffat loses case in land row



Mashudu Netsianda Senior Court Reporter
A WHITE commercial farmer from Insiza District, Bruce Moffat, who is the grandson of a former Rhodesian Prime Minister, was yesterday ordered to vacate Oaklands Farm which was acquired by the government for resettlement.

Moffat, grandson to Howard Unwin Moffat, Southern Rhodesia’s second premier from 1927 to 1933, was dragged to court by a Bulawayo woman, Sibongile Shava for refusing to vacate Oaklands Farm which was acquired by the government and sub-divided into three sections to accommodate newly resettled farmers in 2010.

Sibongile, a widow of the late Vice-President Dr Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo’s driver, Colleen Shava, was allocated Sub-division Two of the farm, but Moffat disputed her ownership of the property. He argued that he was in possession of a recommendation letter issued by officials from the lands office in Filabusi authorising him to retain two thirds of the farm.

Magistrate Singandu Jele ruled that Moffat’s letter could not supersede Shava’s offer letter, which was signed by the Minister of Lands and Rural Resettlement, Douglas Mombeshora. “The recommendation letter that the defendant produced in court can’t supersede an offer letter and as such Moffat can’t remain in occupation of Oaklands Farm. You’re accordingly ordered to vacate the farm forthwith,” said Jele.

Shava had approached the Small Claims courts seeking an order to evict Moffat from the property.

According to the summons, Moffat was cited as the defendant while Shava is the plaintiff.

In her claim, Shava sought the eviction of the white farmer whom she accused of arrogance.

“My plaintiff’s claim is that Bruce Moffat be evicted from my farm. I’ve tried to talk to him but he refuses to communicate with me insisting that I should talk to his lawyer,” she said.

Shava said Moffat refused to recognise her offer letter from the Ministry of Lands and Rural Resettlement.

“Despite producing my offer letter, which I was given by officials from the Ministry of Lands and Rural Resettlement in Filabusi, Moffat is refusing to vacate my farm, arguing that it isn’t genuine, which is why I had to resort to the courts seeking recourse,” Shava said.

Moffat queried the authenticity of the document, arguing that it lacked a date stamp among other things.

Moffat also argued that the Small Claims had no jurisdiction to handle the dispute because of the value of the land. According to the Small Claims Court Act, the court cannot handle cases involving money or property whose value is in excess of $10, 000.

However, in response, Jele said in the event that the land is acquired by the State it ceases to have value in terms of the Agricultural Land Settlement Act.

Oakland Farm has been at the centre of controversy since 2013 when Shava was allocated the land by the Ministry of Lands and Rural Resettlement.

She was given her offer letter on June 6, 2014.

According to the letter, which is in The Chronicle’s possession, Shava was offered Subdivision Two of the 216-hectare farm.


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