War Veteran recounts loss in failed NRZ joint venture derailed by illegal settlers 

Source: War Veteran recounts loss in failed NRZ joint venture derailed by illegal settlers – #Asakhe – CITE

A Bulawayo-based war veteran Phathakahle Dube has recounted his loss in a joint venture with the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) which never materialised due to illegal settlers who occupied his plot intended for agricultural activities.

Dube, the proprietor of PKD Malindi (Pvt) Limited company which focuses on agriculture imports and exports signed a joint venture agreement with NRZ on 1 June 2003 to engage in farming activities.

His designated area was plot 5 of Woolandale Estate in Khami, Bulawayo which is 1013.7 hectares.

However, the project failed to commence as planned, after about 153 people invaded the land and settled illegally.

According to a letter by NRZ addressed to Dube in 2009, the joint venture agreement which came into effect in June 2003, expired in June 2008 but was renewable for five years.

The then NRZ General Manager, the late Air Commodore Mike Karakadzai clarified, “You should also note that the agreement between NRZ and PKD Malindi is a joint venture that has got a time limit to it as the land is reserved for NRZ’s future expansion. We are however aware that the joint venture activities could not take off the ground mainly because of the continued presence of illegal settlers on the NRZ land.”

“Once the illegal settlers have been removed, we are prepared to review the joint venture agreement in line with the provisions of our agreement”

Recounting the loss to CITE, Dube expressed frustration over his unsuccessful legal attempts to address the matter.

“I signed a joint venture in 1998 with National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ), the main objective from the joint venture was to do farming at Woolandale. There are illegal settlers who settled themselves on the remainder of the farm, plot 5, the other farms are okay because they were gazetted by the government, the remainder of plot five, which is my place, was never gazetted,” he said.

In 2005, the High Court ordered that the illegal occupants be evicted from the land but during enforcement by the Deputy Sheriff, political interference halted the eviction process.

“While we were executing the write off of ejectment, there came a lady in the name of Thandi Molife, the District Administrator of Matobo District who advised that she had been sent to by then Governor of Matabeleland South Angeline Masuku, to stop us from proceeding with the ejectment. She further advised that the Governor was aware of the case as it was being handled by the Land Committee. The Governor, Angeline Masuku later phoned me and advised not to proceed with the ejectment,” said the Deputy Sheriff in a letter dated 25 October 2025, seen by CITE.

Dube said the illegal settlers returned in 2008, complicating the situation further.

“Since that time there has been political interference and I had ignored it focusing on the joint venture. In 2005, I deliberately moved out because of the disruptions by these settlers who came in,” he said.

He claimed that since then, he has failed to commence any business on the land.

“Now a substantive position has been made that those people must be evicted, once the people are evicted then I can be given my papers through the deed’s office, NRZ has given a summary of no present interest automatically when they say that, it now belongs to me. I want those people moved out, which will facilitate an order for me to get my papers. I already have the copy of the title deeds, which they gave me when we signed some agreements,” said Dube.

On May 3, 2023, the incumbent NRZ General Manager Respina Zinyanduko wrote to the Transport Ministry’s permanent secretary Engineer Theodius Chinyanga seeking a certificate of no present interest on Woolandale Farm.

A certificate of no present interest is a written statement by the Minister of Lands stating that the President has no intention to acquire the land in question for the time being.

Meanwhile, Dube said the initial setters have now sold portions of the land to new occupants, exacerbating the issue.

“The number was more than 153 but now less than 30 of the initial group who occupied the land and some occupants now are claiming that they were sold the stands by the previous occupants,” he said.

Contacted for a comment, NRZ Public Affairs and stakeholder relations manager, Andrew Kunambura acknowledged the challenge posed by illegal occupants in Woolandale.

“If there are illegal occupants, there are routes to go to resolve those issues, NRZ we are also struggling with these occupants on that property on Woolandale, I don’t know, he has to direct his complaints elsewhere and not try to bring NRZ into it because we are also victims of those illegal occupants,” said Kunambura.