Court stops farm evictions

Court stops farm evictions
Published: 15 December 2017 (204 Views)
NEARLY 400 families illegally occupying Heany Junction Farm in Umguza district, Matabeleland North got a reprieve after the High Court temporarily blocked Government from evicting them without a court order.

The ruling by Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Nicholas Mathonsi followed an urgent chamber application by four Zanu-PF youths challenging their eviction from the farm.

In papers before the court, Ms Ntombizodwa Mhlanga, Mr Bishop Ngwenya, Mr Nqobani Ndlovu and Mr Zephania Dube, who are part of the illegal occupiers of the farm, cited Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri, the Prosecutor-General Mr Ray Goba and Lands, Agriculture and Rural

Resettlement Minister Perrance Shiri, his Home Affairs and Culture counterpart Obert Mpofu and Ms Sibonginkosi Moyo, a Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement employee, as respondents.

The applicants, who are being represented by Pundu and Company, sought an order interdicting the respondents from evicting them from Heany Junction Farm and demolishing their homesteads without a court order.

Justice Mathonsi ruled that the action by the anti-riot police acting on the orders of the respondents was unlawful.

"The narrative of this matter suggests that the applicants, who are all members of Zanu-PF Youth League, were encouraged to settle themselves or at least officialdom remained complicit as they unlawfully invaded tracts of land at Heany Junction Farm just outside Bulawayo in 2013. Not only is the Government required to apply to court for an eviction order, it is also required to provide alternative land before it moves occupiers who took occupation with its full blessing," he said.

Justice Mathonsi said the respondents' conduct was not justified since the matter is still pending before the criminal court.

"The authorities have not sought an eviction order. They have taken upon themselves to threaten eviction and demolition without any court order and the settlers cannot be evicted without a court order," said the judge.

"In the result, the respondents be and are hereby interdicted from threatening to evict, attempting to evict or evict, and in any way interfering with the applicants and other occupiers' occupation of their homesteads at Heany Junction Farm. The respondents are also interdicted from demolishing the homesteads without first seeking and being granted an order by a court of competent jurisdiction," rule the judge.

The Zanu-PF youths are part of the 385 families who illegally occupied Heany Junction Farm in January 2013.

In her founding affidavit, Ms Mhlanga said she and other applicants have been settled at Heany Junction Farm since January 2013 and built permanent homes.

"My family is one of the 385 families that settled at Heany Junction Farm in the year 2013. The applicants are also part of the people settled at the farm and the first respondent (Minister Shiri) has always known of our existence at this farm. The second respondent (Minister Mpofu) authorised our occupation at this farm as a Member of Parliament of our constituency Umguza," she said.

Ms Mhlanga said at some point she took documents with names of other applicants to the fifth respondent (Ms Moyo) who stamped them acknowledging their existence and Minister Mpofu assured them that they would not be evicted.

On November 8 this year, officials from the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement teamed up with about 40 anti-riot police officers and besieged the farm ordering them to move out.

Ms Mhlanga said they were later ordered to pack their belongings and vacate their homes.

"The police then arrested us on November 8 this year in the evening and they detained us at Queens Park Police Station. The next day we appeared at the Tredgold Magistrates' Court in Bulawayo facing charges of occupying gazetted land," she said.

The applicants together with 36 other villagers last week appeared before Bulawayo provincial magistrate Ms Gladmore Mushove facing charges of occupying gazetted land without lawful authority in contravention of section 3 (1) of the Gazetted Lands (Consequential Provisions) Act.

They were remanded out of custody to January 25 in 2018 for commencement of trial.


- chronicle

Tags: Court, Evictions, Farm,
 0

You May Like These Videos

Comments

There are no comments.

Latest stories

Tesla pfee in Zimbabwe

by Staff reporter | 20 October 2018 | 125 Views

Zimbabwean student use the old trick to get asylum in Ireland

by Staff reporter | 20 October 2018 | 144 Views

Joram Gumbo must leave office and face justice

by MDC Communications | 20 October 2018 | 128 Views

Zimbabwe teachers demand salaries in US$

by newzimbabwe | 20 October 2018 | 192 Views

'Chamisa's Alliance plotted a coup against Mnangagwa'

by Staff reporter | 20 October 2018 | 232 Views

Demand for Indian sex sweets rises

by Staff reporter | 20 October 2018 | 224 Views

'Chamisa won't be contested at congress' - no vacancy in MDC presidium

by Staff reporter | 20 October 2018 | 185 Views

Mthuli Ncube calls for political reforms

by Staff reporter | 20 October 2018 | 193 Views

Mnangagwa's minister exposed charging in USD refuses Bond notes

by Staff reporter | 20 October 2018 | 156 Views

Zimsec engages Deloitte And Touch over exam leaks

by Staff reporter | 20 October 2018 | 130 Views

The White Man who sent fear down Mugabe's spine

by Globe and Mail | 20 October 2018 | 123 Views

Human rights violations down in Zimbabwe

by Stephen Jakes | 20 October 2018 | 100 Views

Mliswa pleads with Finance minister to see importance of MPs vehicles

by Stephen Jakes | 20 October 2018 | 99 Views

Zimbabwe business are mercenaries out to loot the poor: MDC legislator

by Stephen Jakes | 20 October 2018 | 114 Views

Electric Tesla car causes stir on Zimbabwe social media

by Staff Reporter | 20 October 2018 | 117 Views

Zimbabwe army officers warned

by Staff reporter | 20 October 2018 | 139 Views

Biti savages Mthuli Ncube

by Staff reporter | 20 October 2018 | 110 Views

Zanu-PF backers justify army use of deadly force

by Staff reporter | 20 October 2018 | 116 Views

Zimbabwe tax system hit by low compliance levels

by Staff reporter | 20 October 2018 | 73 Views

Price controls, tinkering with the deck while the titanic is sinking

by Jacob Mafume, MDC National Spokesperson | 19 October 2018 | 232 Views

Man nearly killed over cooking oil

by Simbarashe Sithole | 19 October 2018 | 210 Views

Mnangagwa closing in on unscrupulous businesspeople

by Staff reporter | 19 October 2018 | 226 Views

Prophet sells congregant's vehicle

by Staff reporter | 19 October 2018 | 194 Views

Zanu-PF's Dexter Nduna confirmed Chegutu West MP

by Staff reporter | 19 October 2018 | 139 Views

Mnangagwa caps 1719 graduands

by Staff reporter | 19 October 2018 | 117 Views

ZCTU calls for resignation of Minister Gumbo

by Stephen Jakes | 19 October 2018 | 280 Views

Mnangagwa has to deliver and, urgently too

by Staff reporter | 19 October 2018 | 310 Views

Zanu-PF dictatorship, ideological dominance

by Vivid Gwede | 19 October 2018 | 232 Views

ZCTU, why spare Bulawayo council over rates hike

by Conway Tutani | 19 October 2018 | 211 Views

Motlanthe Commission risks playing into Zanu-PF agenda

by Staff reporter | 19 October 2018 | 227 Views

Councils challenged to generate own income

by Staff reporter | 19 October 2018 | 158 Views

Zimbabwe gender parity misses 50% mark, says Mohadi

by Staff reporter | 19 October 2018 | 118 Views

Zanu-PF official, sangoma jailed over pangolin scales

by Staff reporter | 19 October 2018 | 184 Views

Mliswa mocks Gender Commission

by Staff reporter | 19 October 2018 | 169 Views

Police harass senior Masvingo journalist

by Stephen Jakes | 19 October 2018 | 152 Views

Zimbabwe gold exports decline by 21%

by Staff reporter | 19 October 2018 | 175 Views