The High Court has ordered Matabeleland South commercial white farmer Mr
David Connolly to vacate Centenary Farm and pave way for Deputy Chief
Secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet Dr Ray Ndhlukula,
who was procedurally allocated that land.
Justice Joseph Musakwa said Dr Ndhlukula was the rightful owner of the farm after Government gave him a valid offer latter for the property.
“The applicant (Mr Connolly) has no legal right to the land in question.
‘‘That means the element of a clear right as a requirement for the interdict has not been met,” he said.
Justice Musakwa took a swipe at Government officials— including Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Deputy Minister Paddy Zhanda — for attempting to give “false hope” to Mr Connolly.
“It matters not that the applicant has received covert encouragement from Government officials.
‘‘It was duplicitous of those Government officials to have given the applicant such false hope without ensuring it is issues with a legal permit to remain on the land. In the final analysis, the provisional order is hereby discharged with costs.”
Justice Musekwa concurred with Dr Ndhlukula’s contention that Mr Connolly’s matter was indistinguishable from similar cases, and the validity of the offer letter and legality of the acquisition favoured the Deputy Chief Secretary.
Mr Connolly had sought confirmation of a provisional order granted in his favour in 2014 by the Bulawayo High Court barring Dr Ndhlukula from evicting him from Centenary Farm.
The provisional order also interdicted Dr Ndhlukula from occupying the farm pending finalisation of the matter.
But Justice Musakwa found that Mr Connolly was occupying land legally gazetted by the State for compulsory acquisition in 2000.
In discharging the provisional order, Justice Musakwa said although Mr Connolly had not been charged for unlawful occupation of the farm, he had no right to remain on the property.
Mr Connolly had argued that since acquisition of the farm, he had been in peaceful and undisturbed occupation of the property and productively utilising the land.
Dr Ndhlukula’s lawyer, Mr Gerald Mlotshwa, counter-argued that Mr Connolly had failed to establish a clear right to the land.