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Judge dismisses goldfields case

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Kwekwe — High Court judge Justice Maphios Cheda has dismissed an application by a businessman seeking to bar police and Zanu PF youths from the Sherwood Block goldfields.

Robert Chipwanyira wanted Zanu PF Midlands provincial security officer Owen Ncube, the party’s youths and police to stop interfering with mining operations at Block ES 15 Sherwood.

But sitting in chambers, Justice Cheda on Monday reportedly dismissed the application after Chipwanyira failed to cite the provincial mining commissioner who would have clarified “some material facts” as respondent.

“The matter was dismissed with costs on grounds that the applicants failed to cite the Mines commissioner and that there were material disputes of fact which the court could not deal with in the absence of the commissioner,” said Valentine Mutatu, a lawyer representing Ncube.

Wedzerai Dube, the mining commissioner for Midlands, had reportedly submitted two affidavits with one of them declaring Chipwanyira the legitimate owner of the disputed gold claim while another one drafted by Detective Inspector Ezekiel Mastock stated that the mine belonged to the State.

Immediately after the ruling, Chipwanyira’s lawyers wrote to Dube challenging him to clear the confusion surrounding the two affidavits.

“The judge noted with concern the two seemingly conflicting affidavits you deposed to firstly in relation to an application by ourselves and one you attached to the opposing affidavit of Detective Inspector Mastock and two others,” the lawyers wrote.

“The judge noted that you did not comply with Section 353 of the Mines and Minerals Act and has since referred the matter back to you.”

The lawyers said the judge had advised that Dube must appoint a government surveyor “with immediate effect to survey the area and indicate the boundaries of ES 15 Sherwood Block, Kwekwe”.

They said police had indicated that they were prepared to leave the area once the surveyor indicated boundaries.

Illegal gold panners linked to Zanu PF descended on Sherwood Block in January after reports that some of the miners had stumbled on gold nuggets.

Zanu PF immediately moved in claiming ownership of the mining before sending its youths to search for gold.

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