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Zimbabwe Court Grants Order for Eviction of Invader Occupying Farm Owned by Son of Prominent National Hero, 2 Friends

Harvesting tomatoes at Esidakeni Farm. (Courtesy Photo)

The High Court has granted an order barring a Bulawayo political activist from interfering with operations at Kershelmar Farms (Private) Limited, owned by Siphosami Malunga, a son of a national hero, and his friends.

Siphosami Malunga at Esidakeni Farm. (Courtesy Photo)
Siphosami Malunga at Esidakeni Farm. (Courtesy Photo)

Dumisani Madzivanyati, who occupied the farm recently claiming that he had obtained an offer letter from the Ministry of Lands, has been ordered to leave the farm within 24 hours.

Malunga, who is the son of the late firebrand politician Sydney Malunga, Zephania Dhlamini and Charles Moyo, filed an urgent court application seeking Madzivanyati’s eviction from Esidakeni Farm, which is producing tomatoes, vegetables and other farm produce worth thousands of dollars.

Tomatoes ready for the market at Esidakeni Farm. (Courtesy Photo)
Tomatoes ready for the market at Esidakeni Farm. (Courtesy Photo)

Justice Makonese ruled that Madzivanyati and all persons claiming ownership of the farm through him “shall remove or cause removal of themselves and all such persons within 24 hours from the date of this order from the farm known as a piece of land situated in the district of Nyamandlovu … collectively known as Esidakeni Farm.”

Madzivanyati was further ordered to restore within 24 hours any property or related material belonging to the owners of the farm.

Harvested tomatoes at Esidakeni Farm. (Courtesy Photo)
Harvested tomatoes at Esidakeni Farm. (Courtesy Photo)

“Failing such removal and restoration, the Sheriff of this court or his lawful deputy be and is hereby authorized and directed to evict the respondent and all persons claiming occupation through him” from Esidakeni Farm.

Madzivanyati was ordered to pay the costs of the suit.

Court documents show that Madzivanyati occupied part of the farm in July this year being assisted by a person identified only as Gumbo and several other people. They forcibly occupied the piece of land and started interfering with operations at the farm, according to the court documents.

Malunga, Dhlamini and Moyo claimed that Madzivanyati drove over their onion fields when they were in the process of planting eight million onions. Other crops were in different stages of growth.

Madzivanyati allegedly dispatched a marauding gang, which forcibly closed the entrance of the farm while threatening workers with unspecified action. They attacked farm manager, Sipho Nkomo, who fled and spent the night hiding in the bush.

Some seedlings ready for transplantation at Esidakeni Farm. (Courtesy Photo)
Some seedlings ready for transplantation at Esidakeni Farm. (Courtesy Photo)

“The invaders switched off all the irrigation pumps and ordered all operations at the farm to be stopped,” reads part of the court application.

Dhlamini and Malunga were blocked from entering the farm until police intervened.

“Applicants were assisted to regain access to the farm. The occupiers were charged with criminal trespass. The peaceful occupation was shortlived. Respondent returned to the farm and caused further disruptions to farming operations.

Men and women at work at Esidakeni Farm. (Courtesy Photo)
Men and women at work at Esidakeni Farm. (Courtesy Photo)

On 10 September 2021 respondent improperly tempered with applicants’ borehole installations and connected his own pipes to the main water line, starving applicants’ tomatoes and butternut crops of water. Respondent threatened applicants’ employees with unspecified action and has continuously interrupted water supplies to applicants’ crops.”

At the time of filing the court application, the farm owners had planted 150,000 tomato plants with 50,000 of them ready for harvest, and 65,000 butternut plants.

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