HomeNewsCrimeBeitbridge conservancy wrangle rages on

Beitbridge conservancy wrangle rages on

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BEITBRIDGE police last Sunday arrested five Denylian Wildlife Conservancy Farm workers for allegedly threatening a farm invader, Rambelani Chioni, with a weapon.

NDUDUZO TSHUMA
STAFF REPORTER

Matabeleland South acting provincial police spokesperson Assistant Inspector Christopher Ngwenya confirmed the arrest of the five.
Denylian Wildlife Conservancy Farm director Pop Ferguson said the five were released on Monday after being made to sign admissions of guilt and each paying $20 fines.  

Ferguson said his company’s lawyer would challenge the public prosecutor to have the admissions of guilt rescinded and fines returned because his staff was coerced into signing statements.

Ferguson has fingered a Cabinet minister as the power behind the invasion of his conservancy by Zanu PF supporters in the Jompembe Block in Beitbridge.

Ferguson alleged that the named minister had interests in building a resort and golf course in partnership with a Zimbabwean based in South Africa.

“There is now a man who apparently owns mortuaries in Beitbridge and Gwanda who has started building a resort on our property and it is said there would be a golf course as well and that it is a joint venture with (the minister).

“The culture of arrogance of these people is very difficult to comprehend,” Ferguson said.

He said villagers from Ndambe and Mavimba were also involved in rampant poaching of wildlife under the watchful eye of the police.

Ferguson has accused the messenger of court in Beitbridge of failing to eject invaders at the conservancy despite an eviction order from the courts amid revelations that encroachers had caused damage running into $100 200 through thefts and vandalism.

In a letter addressed to a Mr Matenga, Ferguson said he had paid $250 and an additional $526 for the messenger of court to evict the invaders.

“After a nauseating diatribe about the danger of carrying out the ejectment without a police escort and, in fact, because of the sensitive political ramifications of the ejectment that he should actually be provided with a police riot squad or Support Unit, it was quite obvious that he didn’t want to carry out the ejectment,” Ferguson wrote.

“I suspect more for personal reasons as I believe that some of the evictées are personal friends of his.”

The messenger of court eventually agreed to do the ejectment and it was arranged that he would meet with a private security contingent that Ferguson had sought from Bulawayo.

Ferguson said later the messenger of court stated he would not effect the evictions.

“I immediately phoned him and found he was still in Beitbridge and bluntly informed me ‘I am not going there’ and that even if he faced suspension that he had no intention whatsoever of carrying out the ejectment without a police escort and gave me a long diatribe of much the same he had given me the day before,” Ferguson said.

“When I asked him why after agreeing to carry out the ejectments the day before and putting the company to the enormous expense and inconvenience to provide him with an escort he didn’t even have the courtesy of phoning us or our attorney to inform us of his change of mind, the messenger of court was unapologetic to the point of being rude.

“I found his whole attitude offensive and said he didn’t care if I reported him to the Sheriff in Harare and even if the Sheriff threatened to suspend him he wouldn’t care but he was not going to carry out the ejectments.”

Ferguson listed assets his company had so far lost since the invasion saying invaders had stolen meat, cutlery, fencing and the conservancy lost bookings at the lodge all at an estimated cost of $100 200, among other things.

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