via Government acquires own land in error – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 22, 2015 by Charles Laiton
THE government’s verve to seize more land from white former owners has resulted in a mix-up in Marondera, where the State is said to have acquired one of its own farms owned by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), Mukuyu Estate.
According to court papers, the applicant in the matter is Cairns Foods Limited, which is an indigenously-owned public company with the RBZ being the majority shareholder.
Cairns Food owns part of Mukuyu Estate measuring 854,6800 hectares.
Last Wednesday, Cairns Foods, through its acting chief executive officer Jeremiah Kwenda, approached the High Court seeking the reversal and the delisting of its farm, arguing it was gazetted in error sometime in 2001 and subsequently acquired in 2005.
“Applicant is advised that it is contrary to the Constitution of Zimbabwe, government’s land reform policy and first respondent’s (Lands minister) policy on resettlement to acquire indigenous-owned farms for purposes of agricultural resettlement,” Kwenda said.
“I am further advised that the acquisition of applicant’s piece of land is not desirable by the State and was done in error, hence the need for this honourable court to issue an order reversing such acquisition.”
High Court judge Justice Amie Tsanga ruled in favour of Cairns Foods after the government failed to respond to the application.
“A certain piece of land situated in district of Marandellas called the remainder of Mukuyu Estate measuring 854,6800 hectares and held under Deed of Transfer No 298/83 is hereby delisted or removed from being State land,” Justice Tsanga said.
“The second respondent (Registrar of Deeds) uplifts/cancels the endorsement on Deed of Transfer No 298/83 and register the title of the said farm in favour of the applicant (Cairns Foods).”
In the application, Cairns Foods, which specialises in winery and cropping activities, said it was forced into judicial management in November 2012.
Kwenda said delisting of the farm would assist Cairns Foods to recapitalise its operations and achieve liquidity, adding the repossession would also help the firm to be emancipated from the judicial management.
Lands minister Douglas Mombeshora and the Registrar of Deeds were cited as respondents.