Court rules in favour of small-scale miners

Source: Court rules in favour of small-scale miners | Newsday (News)

BY SILAS NKALA

SIMALU Mining (Pvt) Limited has been barred from invading and conducting business at 10 claims belonging to nine Gwanda small-scale miners operating as Lushonkwe Nqama Small-Scale.

Patrick Dube, Zibion Sibanda, Sifiso Ndlovu, Angelina Dube, Ntokozo Ngwenya, Misheck Nyathi, Zodwa Moyo, Tshinyiwe Ncube and Nozipho Sibanda, through their lawyer Dumisani Dube, filed summons at the Bulawayo High Court challenging the fraudulent acquisition of their claims.

They cited Simalu Mining (Pvt) Ltd, Ntokozo Hlongwane, Casper Ndlovu, Major Maseko, Naphtal Ncube, Rachael Nthala, the provincial mining director Matabeleland South, Scrap Crushers (Pvt) Limited, the Matabeleland South Province Affairs minister Abednicho Ncube, the officer commanding Matabeleland South police and the Sheriff of the High Court as respondents.

In their particulars of the claim, they submitted that Scrap Crushers (Pvt) Ltd, which holds several claims within Lushonkwe Community agreed to cede to them Orient 1, Orient 2, Lady Annah 4, Lady Annah 5, Lady Annah 6, Lady Annah 7, Lady Annah 8, Lady Annah 9, Lady Annah 10 and Lady Annah 11, held under registration numbers 37537-46.

“The community subsequently delegated some committee members to oversee the process of legal transfer, logistics and payment of arrears and transfers. The said members registered a company Simalu Mining (Private) Limited, (first defendant), without the knowledge, blessing and authority of the plaintiffs and other community members,” the claim read.

On December 3, 2018 community members reported the fraudulent transfer of the claims to Simalu Mining to the (Mines) minister who advised the defendants to transfer the claims back to Lushonkwe Nqama Trust.

“On February 27, 2019, plaintiffs submitted all the requisite papers to the provincial mining director for Matabeleland South. Despite numerous demands for the defendants to transfer the claims to the plaintiffs there has been no transfer of the stolen claims.”

“Wherefore, plaintiffs pray for an order for the cancellation of the transfer of ten (10) gold mining blocks … as it was done fraudulently, unlawfully and through misrepresentation and, therefore, void ab initio.”

Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Evangelista Kabasa last week ordered the applicants to be allowed access to the mine claims and carry out their normal activities.

“The applicants’ agents, assigners and or employees shall accompany the Sheriff, Messenger of Court, Gwanda and members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police and Mines ministry to identify the mining claims and shafts referred to,” Kabasa ruled. “The first and second defendants (Simalu and Hlongwane) and any other person acting through them are hereby interdicted …from conducting any mining activities, works, surveys, prospecting and pegging on the (claims) and any other shafts being worked by applicants.”

Justice Kabasa ordered Simalu Mining and Hlongwane to pay the cost of suit.

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