Commercial Farmers Union of Zimbabwe

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War vets take police to High Court over cattle clearance certificates

War vets take police to High Court over cattle clearance certificates

Mashudu Netsianda Senior Court Reporter
A LONG standing dispute between police in Insuza and war veterans over the clearance of cattle has spilled into the High Court.

The former freedom fighters, through the Zimbabwe War Veterans Trust (ZWVT) in Matabeleland North and Bulawayo provinces, have filed an urgent chamber application at the Bulawayo High Court seeking an order compelling police to issue out a clearance certificate allowing them to move some of their cattle from Winterblock Farm in Umguza District.

In the court papers, ZWVT through its lawyers, VJ Mpofu and Associates, is the applicant while the officer-in-charge of Insuza ZRP and the officer commanding police in Matabeleland North were cited as the respondents.

In his founding affidavit, Marks Mbambo, the provincial chairperson for the organisation in Matabeleland North and Bulawayo, said police have since June last year been refusing to issue them with a clearance certificate to move their cattle to selling points.

“The officer-in-charge of ZRP Insuza has been issuing us with a clearance certificate to move our cattle from Winterblock Farm to the selling points elsewhere. However, in a surprise turn of events since June last year, he has refused to issue us with the certificate citing orders from his superiors,” said Mbambo.

He said since the cattle were under the officer-in-charge of ZRP Insuza’s area of jurisdiction, he had a duty to ensure that the ZWVT animals were not stolen.

“In this case the first respondent (officer-in-charge of ZRP Insuza) is offering no reason as to why he is refusing to issue a clearance certificate. His refusal to allow the movement of the cattle is unreasonable and unfair and as applicants we are seeking an urgent relief in the form of an order compelling the respondents to issue us with a clearance certificate,” said Mbambo.

The cattle were bought at a cattle sale in Bulawayo as part of the ZWVT’s cattle fattening project.

The war veterans said the persistent refusal by police to issue them with a clearance certificate impacted negatively on their business.

“The herdsmen haven’t been paid their wages and they have therefore abandoned our cattle and as a result our herds are now scattered all over and at a risk of either being lost or stolen.

“Due to loss of income, we cannot afford to buy chemicals to treat the cattle and our families have been affected since we rely on the scheme for survival,” argued Mbambo.

“We’re also in urgent need of money to pay school fees and buy food.”

Mbambo said they also risked being evicted from the farm over delays in paying rentals.

“The farm on which the livestock is kept has been leased to us by the Cold Storage Company and we need money from the cattle sales to pay rentals which are overdue,” he said.

ZWVT last year secured a $1,1 million loan from Old Mutual for the cattle project which was shared among the 10 provinces.

Police have not yet filed opposing affidavits and they have 10 days to do so failure of which the matter would be dealt with as an unopposed application for confirmation of the provisional order.

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