Sunday 24 December 2023


Police have arrested two suspects in connection with the invasion of Umvutcha Farm on the outskirts of Bulawayo.

The property has been in dispute for years after the Ministry of Lands allegedly placed an erroneous caveat on the land.

The family lawyer, Bruce Masamvu of Masamvu & Da Silva-Gustavo Law Chambers, confirmed the developments to CITE.

“Police said they have arrested at least two suspects who were part of the crowd that was trying to evict the family from their property. They said they are still carrying out investigations to find out who is being the invasion,” Masamvu said.

The family owns Umvutcha Farm, where they do market gardening, supplying numerous supermarkets in Bulawayo with vegetables.

The disputes over the property date back several years after the land was erroneously declared agricultural land instead of municipal land.

Court documents on the property, cite Alister Michael Fletcher as the applicant and Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, Registrar of Deeds and Robert Njanji as respondents, showing that several court applications have been made to the property various judgments have been passed.

According to the documents, the property falls under municipal land and must be governed as per provisions of Statutory Instrument (SI) 212 of 1999 but due to the caveats, the owner of the land was stripped of all rights to conduct any form of transactions on the property.

The SI reads that: “Whereas by paragraph (b) of subsection 2 of section 4 of the Urban Councils Act [Chapter 29:15], it is provided that, at any time after the establishment of a council the President may, subject to this Act, by proclamation in the Gazette and with the consent of the council alter the boundaries or re-divide the council area into any number of wards, create one or more additional wards, alter or abolish one or more wards or abolish the division of the council area into wards;

“Now, therefore, under and by virtue of the powers vested in the President I do hereby. (a) alter the boundaries of the Bulawayo City Council area by the addition of Umvutsha, Reigate, Umguza Agricultural Lots, Umguza Estate, Southern Portion of Nondwane to the ‘said council area”

The court documents show that the High Court upheld an application made by Fletcher, to have the ministry remove caveats imposed on the property.

According to the documents, Njanji, cited as the second respondent, admitted to the court that the caveats had been erroneously applied and endorsed hence there was a need to remove them.

The documents further show that the Supreme Court ruled that the High Court had no jurisdiction to hear the matter and therefore could not have ruled for the removal of the caveats.

Another application was then made to challenge the ruling of the High Court, citing that the ruling violates the property owner’s rights as enshrined in the Constitution. CITE


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