Commercial Farmers Union of Zimbabwe

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Retreat Farm saga rages on

Retreat Farm saga rages on

Daniel Nemukuyu Senior Court Reporter
Hundreds of families, allocated stands at the remainder of Retreat Farm in Waterfalls, Harare face eviction after the former owners of the land approached the High Court seeking nullification of the compulsory acquisition of the farm. The farm, which was owned by Retreat Farm (Private) Limited, was acquired by Government through General Notice Number 474 of 2011 four years ago for residential settlement.

It was registered in the name of the company under Deed of Transfer 1723 /76.

Government then allocated the land to various cooperatives, which constructed houses for scores of home seekers in Harare.

Four years down the line, the company is now challenging the constitutionality of the compulsory acquisition.

The same company, in summons filed at the High Court under HC4232/ 16 recently, is seeking the eviction of the families occupying the land.

Ministries of Local Government Public Works and National Housing as well as Lands and Rural Resettlement are listed as defendants in the matter.

President Mugabe is cited in his official capacity as third defendant in the same matter.

In the plaintiff’s declaration prepared by Tamuka Moyo Attorneys, the company argued that the acquisition was unconstitutional.

“No notice of this acquisition was given to the plaintiff, indeed no notice at all was given to the plaintiff. No fair and/or adequate compensation was given to the plaintiff for the compulsory acquisition,” it was argued.

The firm argued that the acquisition was effected in the absence of an order to that effect from a competent court of law.

Section 5 of the Land Acquisition Act that was used to acquire the land does not apply when the land is to be used for residential development.

To that end, Retreat Farm (Pvt) Ltd contends that the acquisition process was unconstitutional and that consequently, the occupation of such land by other people was unlawful.

“The plaintiff is thus entitled to occupation and full ownership of its land and any occupation, settlement or other use of the plaintiff’s property by the defendants or any person claiming the right of occupation through them, is unlawful, unconstitutional, void and invalid,” the company’s lawyers argued.

Government is yet to file its defence in the matter.

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