ZIMBABWE’S former ambassador to South Africa, Phelekezela Mphoko yesterday filed his opposing papers in a case where he is accused of grabbing a farm in Umguza.
Mphoko said the farm was not allocated to him, but rather his son, Siqokoqela.
The former ambassador is accused of occupying Plot 13 Douglasdale Farm in Umguza, which was allocated to Terridan Motors (Private) Limited and he has allegedly 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, on Wednesday had 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 granted by Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Maxwell Takuva, who ordered that one of the respondents in the case — National Fencing — acting on Mphoko’s directive, must stop removing or interfering with the Terridan Motors’ activities at the farm pending a hearing into the case.
Mphoko was cited as the first respondent while Umguza Rural District Council and the National Fencing Company are cited as second and third respondents, respectively.
Terridan Motors is the applicant.
Yesterday Mphoko, through his lawyer Solomon Mguni, filed opposing papers.
In his opposing affidavit, Mphoko argued that in the matter in question, he was cited wrongly as Bekezela Mphoko, indicating that he had taken the precaution to oppose the company application.
“I was not allocated land by second respondent (Umguza RDC) on Plot 13 Douglasdale,” he said.
“I have no interest whatsoever in what is happening there.
“I am, therefore, not competent in my personal capacity and or as director of Choppies Zimbabwe (Pvt) Ltd to comment about the dispute between applicant and second respondent (Umguza RDC).
“It is not clear to me why the brand of Choppies Zimbabwe has been dragged into this matter.”
The applicant had stated in the application that Mphoko is the director of Choppies.
“It has come to my attention that the land in question was allocated to my son Siqokoqela Mphoko and not myself or Choppies Zimbabwe,” he continued.
“It follows that all the acts attributed to myself by the applicant are wrongful, malicious and false.”
Mphoko said he moved for the dismissal of this application, with an order of cost on an attorney-client scale.
Accompanying Mphoko’s application was his son Siqokoqela’s affidavit which stated that he had been allocated the land by the council and not his father.
Siqokoqela said sometime this year, the Department of Physical Planning had surveyed and pegged the plot in question.
“Contrary to what the applicant states in his papers about the control of the plot, the plot has since been divided into eight lots and has been distributed to new farmers, a fact which applicant does not disclose,” he said.
Siqokoqela said he had been on the Umguza land waiting list for some time and council records should show that he applied for a plot within its jurisdiction.
He said he was allocated land in the district on the basis that he would employ 40 people and would also sell his produce to Choppies Zimbabwe.
“The offer letter called upon me to indicate my acceptance by paying a total of $2 500 before October 24 2014,” Siqokoqela said.
“I must indicate that on September 26 2014 I paid in full $2 500 required by second respondent (council).”
He said after paying and having been shown his subdivision, an official at Umguza RDC advised him that the Terridan Motors had approached the council suggesting that all new occupants must pay for the portion of the fence covering their respective subdivisions.
“I made it clear to second respondent that I will not require applicant’s fence, it should be removed as third respondent (National Fencing) was already on sight to erect a fence around my subdivision,” Siqokoqela stated.
“In the present application the applicant knew about the re-pegging and subdivision of Plot 13 in August 2014, he even benefited as he is the holder of Lot 1, where the unfinished house is located.
“He even offered to sell his old fence to me in September 2014 and he chose to wait until I had refused to buy it and filed his application of certificate of urgency.”
Siqokoqela submitted that the application made by the company was direct abuse of the court and must be dismissed as it was fraudulently made through misrepresentation.