High Court bars Madzivanyati from interfering at Esidakeni Farm

The Bulawayo High Court has granted an order barring Dumisani Madzivanyati from interfering with operations at Kelshmar Farms in Nyamandlovu.

Siphosami Malunga, who is the son of late nationalist Sydney Malunga and Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) director, co-owns Kershelmar Farms with businessman Charles Moyo and Zephania Dhlamini, a scientist working at the National University of Science and Technology (NUST).

The farm has been at the centre of an ownership wrangle after the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, and Rural Resettlement Anxious Masuku reportedly acquired the farm via a Notice of Acquisition General Notice 3042 of 2020 in the government gazette on December 18, 2020.

The businessmen have identified CIO co-deputy director-general Gatsha Mzithulela, CIO operative Reason Mpofu and Dumisani Madzivanyati as the ones behind the farm seizure.

Zanu PF secretary for administration, Obert Mpofu and Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs minister Richard Moyo are also reportedly involved in the plot.

Bulawayo High Court Judge, Justice Martin Makonese, delivered the ruling of the urgent application, ordering Madzivanyati and all persons claiming occupation through him to remove or cause the removal of themselves within 24 hours from the date this order (October 4, 2021)  was granted from Esidakeni Farm.

“The respondent should within 24 hours from the date of this order restore to the applicant possession of all its farming equipment including all irrigation pipes and machinery. Failing such removal and restoration, the Sheriff of this honourable court be and is hereby authorized and directed to evict the respondent and all persons claiming ownership through him from the farm,” Justice Makonese said.

“The respondent is hereby interdicted from tempering, interfering and disrupting any irrigation equipment or any other equipment or machinery belonging to the applicants or located on the above mentioned property. The respondent is hereby interdicted from interfering with the applicant’s farm workers and the applicants farm operations in carry manner whatsoever.”

Justice Makonese also ordered Madzivanyati  to pay costs of this application on the legal practitioner and client scale.

Through their lawyer, Thabekhulu Dube of Ncube and Partners, the three businessmen lodged an urgent application at the High Court on September 17, seeking a spoilation order to stop Madzivanyati and others from interfering with the farm operations.

In his affidavit, Dhlamini said they have planted 150 000 tomato plants which are at various stages of maturity, with at least 50 000 plants ready for harvest. They have also planted 8 million onion plants and 65 000 butternut plants.

Dhlamini accused Madzvivanyati who was cited as the respondent of interfering with their operations.

“In July 2021, Madzivanyati drove over our ploughed onion fields while we were in the process of planting onions. Shortly after that, Madzvivanyati sent a gang of invaders to intimidate our employees. The gang was led by one Mr Gumbo, who claimed to be acting on behalf of Madzvivanyati,” Dhamini said.

“They attacked the farm manager Sipho Nkomo, chased him from his accommodation and he had to spend the night in hiding in the bush. The gang also switched off all our irrigation pumps and stopped farm work for a whole day. They further denied myselfand other shareholders, Mr Charles Moyo from accessing the farm.”

Dhlamini said they reported the matter to the police who “who acted promptly and assisted in regaining occupation of the farm and we regained our peaceful occupation of the farm.”

However, Madzivanyati returned to the farm to cause more chaos.

“Madzivanyati has subsequently ploughed down our maize stover intended to be used as cattle feed. On the 10th of September 2021, Madzivanyati, without our permission, unlawfully and improperly tampered with our borehole installations and connected his pipes to the main water line, starving all our tomato and butternut crops of water for a full day. When our staff attempted to restore our connections, Madzivanyati persistently reconnected his own pipes and threatened unspecified action.”

Dhlamini said because of Madzvinyati’s actions they risk losing 1.5 million kg of tomatoes valued at US$750 000, 165 000 kg of butternut valued at US$100 000 and 800 000 kg of onions valued at US$400 000.

In the urgent application, the farm owners sought an order granting them “peaceful and undisturbed possession of the farm and its farming equipment”.

“The applicant also seeks to interdict Madzivanyati from interfering in our farming operations. In particular, we seek an interdict preventing Madzivanyati from tampering, interfering and causing disruption to our irrigation equipment and interfering with the farm workers.”

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