ZANU PF land invaders at Heany Junction Farm in Umguza, Matabeleland North, have filed an urgent High Court chamber application seeking an interdict order to stop their eviction by law enforcement agents.
BY SILAS NKALA
In the application, the ruling party activists led by Ntombizodwa Mhlanga, Bishop Ngwenya, Nqobani Ndlovu and Zephania Dube cited former Lands minister Douglas Mombeshora and Home Affairs minister Obert Mpofu, Prosecutor-General Ray Goba and Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri and a lands officer identified as Sibonginkosi Moyo, as respondents.
In her founding affidavit Mhlanga, who is a Zanu PF youth league member, submitted: “I and other applicants have been settled at Heany Junction Farm since January 2013 and I have a permanent home comprising four rooms. I live there with my husband and three children and I also live with my sister’s children. I have 46 chickens and five goats and I have a field that I have ploughed. I aver … that I consider it to be my permanent home.
“My family is one of the 385 families that settled at Heany Junction Farm in the year 2013. The second applicant Ngwenya to 32 applicants are also part of the people settled at the farm … first respondent [Lands minister] has always known of our existence at this farm. The second respondent [Mpofu] authorised our occupation at this farm as a Member of Parliament of our constituency Umguza.”
Mhlanga said at some point she took documents with names of other applicants to the fifth respondent [Moyo], who stamped them acknowledging their existence and Mpofu assured them that they would not be evicted.
Mhlanga said on November 8 this year, Lands ministry officials teamed up with about 40 anti-riot police officers and besieged the farm ordering them to move out.
“They informed us to pack our bags and vacate our homes before 6pm that day. The police then arrested us on November 8 this year in the evening and they detained us at Queens Park Police Station. The next day we appeared at the Tredgold Magistrates’ Court in Bulawayo facing charges of occupying gazetted land.”
She said they were released on bail and the matter is still pending.
“We are approaching the courts to seek an interdict against the respondents to refrain from evicting us and prosecuting us, as well as demolishing our homesteads without a court order as this will be unlawful.”
The respondents are yet to enter an appearance to defend the case.