NATIONAL University of Science and Technology (Nust) lecturer Dumisani Madzivanyati (pictured), who in July invaded Esidakeni Farm in Umguza, Matabeleland North, claiming the Lands ministry had allocated him a portion of the 555-hectare property, risks being jailed for a year for contempt of court for violating a court order that he vacate the farm pending finalisation of an ongoing court case .
Esidakeni is owned by Kershelmar Farms (Pvt) Ltd, a company whose shareholders are the human rights advocate Siphosami Malunga, Nust scientist Zephaniah Dhlamini and gold miner Charles Moyo.
A notice addressed to Madzivanyati from the Registrar of the High Court dated 13 December 2021 indicates that Justice Ndlovu on 7 December issued a Provisional Order directing that the Nust lecturer vacate the farm.
The interim relief granted ordered the Deputy Sheriff of the High Court and the Officer-In-Charge of Nyamandlovu Police Station to evict Madzivanyati and those claiming through him.
“In the event that the 1st respondent (Madzivanyati) and all those claiming occupation through him return to Esidakeni Farm (described above) the 3rd Respondent is hereby directed to effect their arrest and to detain them pending the final determination of this matter,” the notice reads.
This followed an application by Kershelmar Farms (1st applicant), Dhlamini (2nd applicant), Malunga (3rd applicant) and Moyo (4th applicant) seeking Madzivanyati’s incarceration for contempt of court.
The registrar asked Madzivanyati to show cause why a final order should not be made confirming the provisional order.
“That 1st respondent and all those claiming occupation through him be and are hereby held in content of court; that the 1st respondent and all those claiming occupation through him be and are hereby sentenced to 12 months imprisonment.
“The sentence for contempt of court be and is hereby suspended subject to the respondent and all those claiming occupation through him not violating the order of this Honourable Court granted under HC 1315/21.”
If he intends to confirm or oppose the provisional order, Madzivanyati was told to file a notice of opposition in form 24, together with one or more opposing affidavits, with the Registrar of the High Court within 10 days
“If you do not file an opposing affidavit within the period specified above, this matter will be set down for hearing in the High Court at Bulawayo without further notice to either of you and will be dealt with as an unopposed application for confirmation of the Provisional Order,” the notice read.
“If you wish to have the Provisional Order changed or set aside sooner than the Rules of Court normally allow and can show good cause for this, you should approach the Applicant’s legal practitioners to agree in consultation with the Registrar, on a suitable hearing date. If this cannot be agreed or there is great urgency, you make a chamber application, on notice to the Applicant for directions from a Judge as to when the matter can be argued.”
The dispute over the ownership of the farm is currently before the High Court. Kershelmar Farms’ owners are challenging Esidakeni’s compulsory acquisition by the Lands minister on 18 December 2020.
Madzivanyati said he had been offered a portion of the farm by virtue of an offer letter.
The directors of Kershelmar Farms have been in possession of Esidakeni Farm since its purchase in 2017.
They have carried out various farming activities, installed equipment including boreholes and a booster irrigation pump, the High Court heard. — STAFF WRITER