Commercial Farmers Union of Zimbabwe

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White farmer refuses to leave gazetted land

White farmer refuses to leave gazetted land

court hammer

Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Reporter
A WHITE commercial farmer is locked in a protracted legal wrangle with a Gwanda couple over the ownership of a farm in Insindi area.

Joseph Stewart, a former owner of Subdivision 22 of Insindi, is allegedly refusing to vacate the farm which was acquired by the government in terms of the Land Acquisition Act under the Land Reform programme.

Leo Mpofu and his wife Moreblessings, through their lawyers, R Ndlovu and Company, filed summons at the Bulawayo High Court citing Stewart and the Minister of Land and Rural Resettlement Douglas Mombeshora as the defendants.

The couple is seeking an order compelling Stewart to vacate his former property and pay the cost of suit.The couple said despite demand, Stewart has refused to vacate the farm which was gazetted by the government for purposes of re-allocation to prospective farmers.

“I made several applications to the government for farming land particularly intending to make use of second plaintiff’s (Leo) vast experience and qualification in the field of farming,” said Moreblessings.

She said they were offered the farm measuring 288 hectares on December 3, 2014, by the government through the Minister of Land and Rural Resettlement.The couple said in October last year, their workers went to the farm but Stewart kicked them out of the property.

“Despite notice from officers from the Ministry of Land and Rural Resettlement and our efforts to occupy the farm, the defendant has continued in occupation of the property,” said the couple’s lawyers.“It is clear that the defendant is determined to continue in occupation of the piece of land and the plaintiffs have no option but to approach this honourable court for an eviction order,” said the couple.

Stewart has not yet filed a notice to enter an appearance to defend the summons.In August last year, the government gazetted 23 farms, 18 of them in Matabeleland North and South provinces as the part of the land reform programme. The farms were acquired lawfully in terms of Section 72 (2) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

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