ZIMBABWE’S former ambassador to South Africa, Phelekezela Mphoko, is embroiled in a bitter wrangle with a motor vehicle company over a farm in Umguza, in which the Umguza Rural District Council is alleged to have clandestinely allocated.
Mphoko is alleged to have occupied Plot 13 Douglasdale Farm in Umguza and started removing fencing and standards erected by the company at the farm.
Terridan Motors (Private) Limited director Absomom Mukahiwa represented by Sandra Sauramba from Majoko and Majoko law firm yesterday filed an urgent High Court application seeking to bar Mphoko from removing the fencing and to cease operations or interfering with the company at the farm.
The application was filed before Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Maxwell Takuva pending a hearing into the case, in which the company is seeking the removal of Mphoko from the farm.
Mphoko is cited as the first respondent in the case while Umguza Rural District Council and the National Fencing Company are cited as second and third respondents, respectively.
Terridan Motors is applicant.
Justice Takuva yesterday granted the company an interim relief, ordering that National Fencing Company must stop removing fencing and standards erected by the company.
“It is ordered that third respondent cease and stop carrying out any and all instructions the effect of which would be to interfere with the applicant’s fencing of Plot 13 Douglasdale and to the extent necessary, not to act on any instructions from the first and second respondent the effects of which would be to interfere with applicant’s fencing and other property of the applicant on Plot 13 Douglasdale,”he ruled.
He said in the event that the respondents defied the order, the police officer commanding the law and order section in Bulawayo should ensure compliance.
“By lease entered into in September 2009, the second respondent leased out to applicant the Plot 13 Douglasdale for a period of nine years,” Mukahiwa wrote in his founding affidavit.
“The lease, which is subject to renewal, terminates in August 2018. The land should be used for agricultural purposes.
“In preparation for this, applicant (Terridan Motors) fenced the entire leased land with nine strands fencing.”
The company further submitted that through Umguza RDC’s permission, the company constructed a dwelling structure, which is now at roofing level.
“In September 2013, the second respondent (Umguza RDC) addressed a letter to applicant purporting to cancel the lease agreement between it and applicant on allegations that applicant had constructed permanent structures on the leased land contrary to lease agreement,” the company submitted.
“Applicant contested the purported cancellation, culminating in applicant instituting proceedings in case no HC 1932/14, which are pending before the court and to which I beg leave to refer to and incorporate.”
The company indicated that at some point Mphoko suggested that the matter be resolved by negotiations and it agreed.
On September 10 2014, a meeting was held between the company and the council where they agreed to deal with the matter without litigation.
It was submitted that on October 16 the company noticed that the National Fencing Company was erecting tents on the land leased to it to accommodate its workers who were contracted by Mphoko.
The company indicated that the workers started removing fencing material from the land, hence Terridan Motors sought an order stopping the activities at the farm, pending the finalisation of the other court case.
“The acts of respondents’ singly and collectively constitute spoliations and applicant seeks protection from this court against the naked and unashamed abuse of power by the first and second respondents,” it stated.