A Matobo-based white commercial farmer and miner appeared in court on Monday for allegedly insulting President Robert Mugabe in a row over mining claims with his neighbours.
The farmer, Michael John Van Rooyen (75), was not asked to plead to charges of undermining the authority of the President, when he briefly appeared before Bulawayo magistrate Victor Mpofu.
He was remanded out of custody on his own cognisance to August 11 on the strength of a High Court order issued on Saturday by Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Lawrence Kamocha ordering his immediate release from police custody on medical grounds.
Van Rooyen is the director of Star Group of Mines which has mining claims at Usher Estate which belongs to the Usher family.
He was arrested on Friday and released on Sunday afternoon after spending two nights in police holding cells.
Charges against him are on July 14, Van Rooyen drove through his neighbour’s estate and left word that Usher should follow him to his Star Mine with a lease agreement of the estate.
Usher went to the mine and on arrival, Van Rooyen allegedly asked him “What do you want at the farm? You have nothing, just go back to your family in Harare.”
Usher allegedly told him the only person who could remove him from the farm was President Mugabe as he knows the history of the farm.
It is alleged that Van Rooyen went on to say: “You depend on your Tshuma guy (Joe, Zanu PF deputy secretary for transport Bulawayo province), he is nothing in Zanu PF and he is a Minister of Transport (unprintable words), this is my mine.”
Usher made a report to the police, leading to Van Rooyen’s arrest.
Bulawayo lawyer Nathan Mashayamombe is representing Van Rooyen in the case.