THE Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) has once again approached the High Court seeking ejectment of Mbada Diamonds from the Chiadzwa mining fields in Marange.
BY CHARLES LAITON
In the summons issued in March, ZCDC said it was the holder of a mining special grant, No 6026, issued by the Secretary for Mines on February 22 last year, which licence was valid for three years and entitled it to occupy and carry out operations for diamonds and alluvial gold in the 795 000 hectares of land.
“To date the plaintiff [ZCDC] has not been able to take up occupation of the mining area and/or carry out any mining operations as the defendant [Mbada Diamonds] is in occupation of the said area without proper recourse to the law,” ZCDC said in its declaration.
ZCDC further said sometime in March last year, the High Court issued an order in terms of which ZCDC, among other firms, were interdicted from interfering with Mbada’s lawful operations in the mining area, but it had since appealed against the court’s judgment, which appeal had the effect of setting aside the court’s order, hence the current application for ejectment.
“In terms of paragraph 7 of the same judgment (under HC 1977/16), the defendant’s security personnel were also entitled to remain at the mining site for purposes of safeguarding the defendant’s assets as an interim relief pending the resolution of the matter,” ZCDC said.
“That judgment is the subject of an appeal in the Supreme Court under case number SC165/16, thus effectively suspending the operation of the said judgment.”
The parastatal also said sometime in December last year, all Mbada Diamond’s assets at the mining area were sold “in execution of some other judgments against it”, thereby rendering the judgment which would have entitled its security personnel to remain in occupation (for purposes of safeguarding assets) irrelevant and ineffectual as there were no assets requiring security.
“The defendant’s right to occupy and carry out operations in the Chiadzwa mining area terminated when the Secretary for Mines and Mining Development communicated his decision on February 22, 2016 to the effect that the special grants that had entitled the defendant to do so had long expired or lapsed and had not been renewed,” ZCDC said.
“The defendant has neither sought to challenge or appeal against the Secretary’s decision nullifying the special grants … nor has it complied with the Secretary’s directive to vacate the area by February 22, 2016.”
In response to the summons, however, Mbada Diamonds filed “a declinatory plea in abatement and bar”, arguing the issue of a special mining grant which was issued by the Secretary for Mines “constituted an element of the unlawful spoliation” and, thus, was covered by the order of the High Court.
“The relief sought by the plaintiff in these proceedings violates an operative order of this honourable court made on February 24, 2017 and deals with issues still pending before the honourable court,” Mbada said.
“Furthermore and in any event, the said appeal is still to be determined and is, consequently, pending litigation before the Supreme Court … In the circumstances, the claims made by the plaintiff in this matter relate to matters pending before the Supreme Court and are, consequently, objectionable on account of them relating to matters which are pending before a court on competent jurisdiction.”
The matter is still pending.