Friday, 25 October 2019

400 VILLAGERS FIGHT EVICTION AT THE HIGH COURT


MORE than 400 families at Badminton Farm in Nyamandlovu whose homes were recently razed by the Sheriff following a court order have approached the High Court seeking an order nullifying the order.

The villagers under the banner, Badminton Villagers Association, yesterday filed an application at the Bulawayo High Court citing Badminton Block Company, its representative Mr Luke Siziba, the officer commanding police in Matabeleland North, the Sheriff of the High Court as respondents.

They want an order declaring the eviction null and void, arguing that Badminton Block Company failed to prove ownership claims to the disputed piece of land. They said the court order used by Badminton Block Company to evict them was unlawful and fraudulently acquired.

In his founding affidavit, Mr Tabuno Mleya Dube, who is the vice chairperson of Badminton Villagers Association, said the land was allocated to them by Chief Deli who settled them on the farm in 2011.

The villagers alleged Chief Deli claimed the land was under his jurisdiction and he had powers to settle people.

“The farm does not belong to Badminton Block Company and they were asked by the court to produce a copy of a document empowering them but failed. The order used  by the respondents is unlawful and therefore null and void and it should be set aside,” he said.

The villagers were in 2016 served with an eviction order from the High Court which they defied prompting the Sheriff of the High Court to execute it with the assistance of police. 

The evictions followed an order by Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Maxwell Takuva directing the villagers to vacate the farm after Badminton Block Company had filed an application under case number HC938/15.

The villagers claimed they were not served with court papers, resulting in Badminton Block Company obtaining an eviction order granted in default.

They said they only became aware of the order when Badminton Block Company sought to execute it with the assistance of police.

The villagers said they have since made a request to the Lands ministry to have the farm gazetted in terms of the law.

Badminton Block Company, in its opposing papers through lawyers Webb, Low and Barry, said the land occupied by the applicants was its private land held under deed of transfer number 5096/90. The company argued that Chief Deli had no lawful authority to allocate the land. Chronicle

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