Mugabe aide case struck off roll

HARARE - Deputy chief secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet Ray Ndhlukula’s contempt of court case has been struck off the roll.

Supreme Court judges, sitting in Bulawayo last week, removed the matter from the roll to allow the parties to put the record in order, including filing a transcribed record of proceedings from the High Court.

An order for Ndhlukula’s imprisonment was passed after he failed to comply with a directive that barred him from evicting Figtree farmer David Connolly from his Centenary Farm.

Ndhlukula is embroiled in a fierce battle with Conolly for control of Subdivision A of Centenary, which is located in the Bulilima District.

This followed claims that Ndhlukula’s workers occupied the farm and disrupted farming operations despite High Court judge Maxwell Takuva’s June 2014 interim order stopping him from taking occupation of the farm.

Following the workers’ actions, Conolly launched a successful application, which resulted in Ndhlukula being found guilty of contempt of court.

Ndhlukula now wants the order reversed.

In the appeal, he argued that Conolly, through his company J C Conolly and Sons (Private) Limited, which he cited as the first respondent, misled the court when it secured the interim relief.

In the application, he cited officer commanding Matabeleland South Happymore Sigauke as the second respondent.

He said that Conolly was not the lawful owner of the farm since it was gazetted by the government.

“The farm was offered to the appellant (Ndhlukula) and he accepted the same. It constitutes lawful authority to hold, use and occupy gazetted land,” Ndhlukula argued.

He said that pursuant to the offer, he gave Conolly a 90-day notice of his intention to occupy the land. According to court papers, Conolly challenged the decision by filing an urgent chamber application, interdicting Ndhlukula from occupying the property.

Ndhlukula, who is President Robert Mugabe’s top aide, told the court that the court papers were served on his gardener who could not do anything, since he was away, which resulted in a default judgment being entered in Conolly’s favour.

“Upon expiry of the notice period given by appellant, the first respondent (J.C.Conolly and Sons (Private) Limited) proceeded to obtain a contempt of court order…on the purported basis that appellant was in breach of the interdict,” he said.

He denied being in contempt of court, claiming to be the lawful occupier of the property.

“It is abundantly clear that the court a quo misdirected itself in concluding that first respondent was entitled to remain on gazetted land until such time it had been convicted, and an eviction order issued to its effect,” Ndhlukula said.

He added that the land belonged to the State and as such Conolly should not be allowed to remain in occupation of the property.

“It is submitted that the court order granting first respondent interdictory relief and the contempt of court order are being used as a ‘back door’ by the said party for the purposes of obtaining ‘lawful authority’ in order to continue in occupation and use of State land notwithstanding the provisions of Section 3 of the Gazetted Land (Consequential Provisions) Act.

“Appellant cannot be prohibited from doing that which is lawful. He is empowered by statutory law to hold, use and occupy the land in dispute.

“As such, he cannot be held to be in contempt of court for conduct that is lawful,” he said.

Comments (2)

This clearly shows that there is no rule of law in Zim. What is going to happen to 125 people who live on thde farm. Before Ray Ndhukula invaded the farm, it produced 5000000 cabages, 300000onions which were sold by vendors in Bulawayo. With people starving and unemployed we cannot afford such a loss of food and 125 jobs. Connolly build a dam and a drip irrigation system which allows the farm to be productive in years of drought. If every farmer did the same, we would be self sufficient in food even in years of drought. Unfortunately no one will invest if greedy people like Ray can come and take your investment. Everyone should fight this and invade his family in Bourberfields wher he grew up. Even if he gets away this time, the future is uknown. Ndhlukula has two other farms in Matabeleland South at Wilfred Hope Farm in Marula and Vlakfontein known as Subdivision 2 of Marula Block. He should demostrate that his farms are as productive befor he is allowed to take more farms.

bexilford - 4 December 2015

Is sending one's workers to gazetted land the proper way to take over the land? Why would he be the appropriate owner of gazetted land? Shouldn't it be the government's responsibility to clear ownership issues, as opposed to the awardee taking that responsibility? This clearly shows that someone is bulldozing his way onto this property, of course on the basis that the powers that be support him.

Kabija - 5 December 2015

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