ZANU PF Tsholotsho South legislator Zenzo Sibanda and Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs minister Cain Mathema have been sucked into a land dispute between Chief Conrad Magama Hadebe and a local businessman.
BY SILAS NKALA
Chief Hadebe has now hauled businessman Owen Sibanda before the court, claiming he was given a piece of land by Tsholotsho Rural District Council (RDC) without consulting him and he wants the land for community projects.
The chief has now enlisted the help of Mathema and the Tsholotsho South MP to get the businessman off the land, according to the minutes of a meeting conducted by the chief and other local traditional leaders produced in court.
Chief Hadebe, a headmen Mthobi, Melusi Ndlovu, Ndaniso Mpofu, Tedious Ncube, Vincent Bhebhe, a Mabhena, William Nkomo, the chief’s secretary, Luka Nkomo, villagers Million Siwela, Mtshiso Ngwenya, Amon Ngwenya, Smile Green, Nhlanhla, Moses Mabunda, Joram Ndlovu, Camen Gumbo and Herman Ntuta, among others, held a meeting in which they agreed that Owen must leave the land with immediate effect.
The businessman and farmer was reportedly allocated the piece of land by the RDC at Makwali village to conduct various farming projects.
He intended to carry out piggery, cattle fattening and poultry farming and has already developed the land by erecting a fence, building houses and various facilities at an estimated cost of $10 000.
According to court papers, after the allocation, Owen consulted village head Melusi, Mthobi, the headman, the Agricultural Extension Services (Agritex) and local councillor, Clement Ndlovu, before the Environmental Management Agency drew up a report recommending that he be given the land.
The RDC then pegged the land and Owen paid for the services.
Chief Hadebe and some villagers then sought Owen’s eviction from the land on the grounds that he (chief) was not consulted when the allocation was done.
They agreed that the land should be used for projects such as a community borehole for gardening, a mini dam for water, as there are cattle paddocks pegged by Agritex nearby.
The participants at the meeting resolved that those who had agreed to give Owen the land should reverse their offer.
Owen, through his lawyer Abednico Ndebele, is challenging the eviction.
The matter was recently heard by Tsholotsho magistrate, Victor Mpofu.
Chief Hadebe told the court that the allocation of the said land was withdrawn by the headman and all those concerned.
He said headman Melusi and councillor Clement withdrew their signatures through an affidavit.
Their affidavits show their withdrawals were produced in court.
Owen’s lawyer said the surprising part of the affidavits was that they were commissioned by Chief Hadebe , who is also an interested party in the matter.
The headman, during the hearing, differed with the chief’s claims, saying the allocation of land to Owen was above board and the farmer was likely to create employment for locals.
The matter will be back in court on August 7 and 8, when Owen will present his defence.