Tuesday, 7 September 2021

WHITE FARMER FIGHTS TO GET BACK RENOVATED LODGE

FORMER owner of Tabas Induna Farm in Ntabazinduna in Matabeleland North Province, Mr Brian Davies, has dragged the Government and newly resettled farmer, Mr Floyd Ambrose, to court for allegedly failing to “honour” a memorandum of understanding he entered with the new owner.

The farm was acquired by the Government under the Land Reform Programme and divided into A2 plots. One portion of the farm, being Lot 15 of Tabas Induna where there is a lodge situated on a hilltop, was allocated to Mr Ambrose through an offer letter.

Mr Davies retained the remaining extent of the farm. In 2014, Mr Davies and Ambrose entered into an agreement to swap their portions of land. The agreement was drawn up and the Lands Ministry provisionally agreed subject to final approval by the minister.

According to Mr Davies the reason why they agreed to swap the land was because Mr Ambrose had failed to run the lodge known as Chief’s Lodge and wanted to resort to farming.

Following the agreement, Mr Davies and his family subsequently moved to Mr Ambrose’s land and started the process of renovating the lodge at a cost of US$82 000.

Mr Davies said Mr Ambrose got into his area and tried to carry out farming activities but was not successful resulting in him vacating the land. He said three years later Mr Ambrose moved back to his portion of land and demanded cancellation of the agreement. The dispute spilled into the courts and Mr Ambrose won the case after the Government failed to confirm the agreement.

The magistrate’s court granted an eviction order under case number MC7600/17. Aggrieved by the outcome, Mr Davies, through his lawyers Webb, Low and Barry Legal Practitioners, has filed an application for review at the Bulawayo High Court challenging the ruling.

In papers before the court, Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement Minister Anxious Masuka, Matabeleland North provincial lands officer and Mr Ambrose were cited as respondents.

In his founding affidavit, Mr Davies wants an order directing Minister Masuka to confirm the agreement.

“This is an application for review of the decision taken by the first respondent (Minister Masuka) and communicated by the second respondent (Matabeleland North provincial chief lands officer) dated April 15, 2021 in which the minister failed to confirm the swap agreement that was entered into myself and the third respondent (Mr Ambrose),” he said.

In his ground of review, Mr Davies argued that Minister Masuka did not act in a fair and reasonable manner as he did not grant him an opportunity to make adequate representations.

“The first respondent did not notify me of my right to review the decision, which is irrational and grossly irregular,” he said.

Mr Davies said he spent US$82 259 on renovations of the lodge. In March, gunshots were fired at Tabas Induna Farm in Ntabazinduna as members of the Mthwakazi Republic Party (MRP) attempted to forcibly evict Mr Ambrose from the farm.

The MRP party was reportedly enlisted by Mr Davies and his wife, Carol, to help them evict Mr Ambrose.  Chronicle

0 comments:

Post a Comment