Umguza elderly farmer taken to court

THE government has taken Umguza commercial farmer Sarah Anne Visser to court over allegations that she is refusing to vacate her farm following its compulsory acquisition for resettlement in 2009.


Visser (75) is expected to appear in court next week charged with contravening sections of the Land Acquisition Act.

According to the Act, she was supposed to give a notice of appeal against the acquisition of her Kloof Farm within 90 days, but allegedly failed to do so.

The matter was first brought to the Bulawayo Western Commonage Courts in 2011, but she was advised then the case would proceed by way of summons.

On Monday, Visser told NewsDay she had now been summoned to appear in court on March 12.

“The Ministry (of Lands and Rural Resettlement) is again taking me back to court and the matter has been set for March 12 next week,” she said.

“They are charging me with illegal occupation of gazetted State land. I have stayed on that land for 43 years.”

On November 20, 2009 the farm was divided into 17 plots and offered to a number of people under the resettlement scheme.

Among the beneficiaries were Jacob Makhubalo of Luveve and Cost Bhebhe of Lobengula West in Bulawayo whom Visser allegedly denied access to the land.

After the pair failed to access their allocated plots, they reported the matter to the police, but Visser allegedly refused to vacate, insisting that she could only move away after being served with a court order.

In her court submissions, Visser said in 2005 she applied for an A2 farm wanting the area which includes plots 14, 15, 16 and 17 on the same farm.

“In 2006 I was told by the lands officials that my application was successful and the necessary documents would follow,” she said.

“But in 2010 the official told me that part of the same land had been allocated to Makhubalo and Bhebhe.”

Visser said Makhubalo and Bhebhe started destroying vegetation, clearing the land in preparation for farming.

She said Makhubalo threatened to take her farm house.

Visser said on April 3, 2011 Makhubalo destroyed her lucerne and other fodder crops using a tractor.

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