via Minister loses eviction fight – NewsDay Zimbabwe April 4, 2016
A BID by Manicaland Provincial Affairs minister, Mandiitawepi Chimene to evict five families from a Nyazura farm and take over the land hit a snag recently after she lost the matter at the Mutare Civil Court.
BY KENNETH NYANGANI
Chimene wanted the eviction of Milton Munjengwa, Oliver Chinowaita, Jusa Showa, a Mrs Moyo and Tapiwa Goora from Nyazura Farm Complex, claiming sole ownership of the land.
But Mutare magistrate Anniah Ndiraya dismissed the case and ordered her to pay the costs of the suit.
“Plaintiff seeks an order for the eviction of each of the defendants and all those claiming occupation through them from the Nyazura farm complex, Nyazura Farm, and all other farm buildings or infrastructure thereof as well as costs of suit,’’ part of the ruling reads.
“The basis of the claim for the eviction of each of the defendants is that the plaintiff is the sole and exclusive holder of all rights, title and interest to all farm, infrastructure of the gazetted land by virtue of a lease agreement issued by the Minister of Lands and Rural Resettlement.”
Chimene had led evidence from two witnesses — Claudious Mukandiwa and Brian Manyika from the Ministry of Land and Rural Resettlement and provincial estate lands officer for Manicaland province, respectively — who claimed the farm was gazzeted and acquired by the State in terms of the Land Acquisition Act notice 226A of 2012.
But the defendants argued that the properties belonged to the late Rudolf Dutoit, from whom they obtained leases in respect of the buildings, and tendered proof of payment rentals to JS Holland, acting as Dutoit’s agent.
They further argued that the Makoni Rural District Council was the responsible authority in charge of the buildings, which now form part of Nyazura central business district.
Ndiraya ruled: “It is my well-considered view that the disputed property was never compulsorily acquired by the State. It remained under the control of Rudolf Dutoit, who dealt with the infrastructure any how he deemed fit.
“Documentation produced by the defendants, which includes lease agreements between second defendant and Rudolf, a letter from Keith Holland and a bundle of receipts for payment of rentals to JS Holland as administrator of the estate of the late Dutoit, clearly shows that the disputed property did not form part of the land compulsorily acquired by the State.
“The impact of that undisputed evidence is that the property in dispute remained under the control of Rudolf Dutoit when part of the farm was compulsorily acquired. Consequently, the claim for the eviction of the defendants and all those claiming occupation through them is dismissed with costs.”
The families were represented by Memory Mandingwa of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, while Chimene was represented by Hugo Tanaya of Mugadza and Partners Legal Practioners.