PROPERTY developer Edward Pfugari’s Supreme Court victory that the government’s seizure of his Whitecliff Farm was irregular, suffered a major blow yesterday after the State published a notice to compulsorily acquire the farm for Harare’s expansion.
Report by Everson Mushava Chief Reporter
Supreme Court judges of appeal Justices Vernanda Ziyambi, Yunus Omerjee and Paddington Garwe last week ruled that the government had failed to comply with provisions of the Land Acquisition Act (Chapter 20:10) when it compulsorily acquired the farm.
The farm is along the Harare-Bulawayo Road. A week after the court ruling, the government swiftly moved to list the farm as one of properties to be compulsorily acquired by President Robert Mugabe for urban development purposes.
Pfugari owned the farm under Deeds of Transfer of 10444/2000, registered in the same name of Eddies Pfugari Properties P/L, “in respect of certain piece of land situate in the district of Salisbury being remainder of Whitecliff measuring 1 065, 7090 hectares”. Lands and Rural Resettlement minister Herbert Murerwa advised those opposed to the acquisition of the farm to lodge their complaints with his ministry before December 21 this year.
Murerwa also indicated that if any owner, occupier or any other person who has interest and right to Whitecliff Farm and wishes to claim compensation in terms of the Land Acquisition Act they should lodge their interests with his ministry. According to the Act, the government would pay for any farm improvements such as outbuildings or farm house, among others. The government seized Pfugari’s farm on the outskirts of Harare in 2006 and settled hundreds of squatters displaced during a government-sponsored clean-up campaign codenamed operation Murambatsvina.
But the Supreme Court last week ordered the squatters to vacate the property within five days from the day of the ruling after Pfugari, through his lawyers Advocates Thabani Mpofu and Thembinkosi Magwaliba, appealed against a ruling by the Administrative Court which had ruled in favour of the government.
The judges agreed that the expropriation of 1 065, 7090 hectares of Whitecliff Farm near Snake Park along the Harare-
Bulawayo Road under Section 8 (1) of the Land Acquisition Act (Chapter 20:10) was null and void.