BY SILAS NKALA
BUSINESSMAN Dumisani Madzivanyati and his workers at Esidakeni Farm owned by Kershelmar Farms Private Limited in Nyamandlovu face possible arrest and detention if they continue to defy a High Court order to vacate the farm.
Madzivanyati, a lecturer at the National University of Science and Technology, is currently embroiled in a legal battle with Kershelmar shareholders, Siphosami Malunga, the son of the late Zapu stalwart Sydney Malunga, Zephaniah Dhlamini and Charles Moyo.
Recently, Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Bongani Ndlovu ruled that Madzivanyati should vacate the farm.
So far, two Bulawayo High Court judges have given orders for his eviction, but he has refused to leave and has returned to the farm after his recent eviction.
On October 28, Justice Evangelista Kabasa ordered the eviction of Madzivanyati and all those claiming occupation of the farm through him as per the judgment made by the High Court on October 7 this year.
Following Justice Kabasa’s order, the deputy sheriff, assisted by the police, evicted Madzivanyati from the farm on November 30, but he has since returned to the farm.
This prompted the applicants, represented by their lawyer Josphat Tshuma, to file for contempt of court citing Madzivanyati, the deputy sheriff and the officer-in-charge (OIC) of Nyamandlovu Police Station as the first to third respondents, respectively.
Another judge, Justice Martin Makonese also ordered Madzivanyati to stop his activities and restore the farm to its owners, but he still remained at the farm.
In an order made available to the lawyers on Tuesday this week, Justice Ndlovu ordered the eviction of Madzivanyati and all those that claimed occupation of the farm.
“Pending the return date of this matter, the applicants be granted the following relief: the second respondent (deputy sheriff) assisted by third respondent (OIC) be, and is hereby ordered to evict the first respondent (Madzivanyati) and all those claiming occupation through him from the farm … known as Esidakeni forthwith,” Justice Ndlovu ruled.
“In the event that the first respondent and all those claiming occupation through him return to Esidakeni Farm, the third respondent is hereby directed to effect their arrest and to detain them pending the final determination of this matter.”
In the draft order sought, Kershelmar Farms (Pvt) Ltd shareholders asked the court to find Madzivanyati in contempt, and to sentence him and other occupiers to 12 months in jail.
The draft order stated that the sentence could only be suspended when they stopped defying the court orders.
The deputy sheriff is yet to enforce the current eviction order.
Madzivanyati asserts that he was offered a portion of Esidakeni Farm by the Lands ministry.
But Kershelmar Farm shareholders said they had deeds of transfer of the farm. The Lands Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement ministry purportedly acquired Esidakeni Farm by way of notice of acquisition General Notice 3042 of 2020 published in the Zimbabwe Government Gazette on December 18, 2020.
The shareholders are seeking nullification of the purported acquisition and offer letters granted as a result of such acquisition.