RIOZIM Limited has taken Defence and War Veterans Affairs minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri (pictured), to court following her recent declaration of the company’s mining claims as a cantonment area, but offering the same claims to other firms.
BY CHARLES LAITON
RioZim said it is a holder of 260 mining claims in the Darwendale area of Mashonaland West province. Some of its chrome ore mining claims, situated partly on Darwendale South Eclipse, New Burnside, and Darwendale B Farms, have been taken over by the military under the guise of a cantonment area, prompting the mine to approach the court for recourse.
RioZim approached the High Court on September 28, saying of particular interest were its claims known as Wendale 42 and Wendale 43 blocks, which are registered under certificates No.18006BM and 18007BM, respectively.
In his founding affidavit, RioZim Limited’s chief geologist, Patrick Takaedza, said the decision by Muchinguri-Kashiri, in her official capacity, to issue a notice declaring the area in question as a cantonment area was unlawful and urged the court to set it aside.
“This is an application for the review of the first respondent’s (Minister of Mines and War Veterans Affairs) decision in declaring the area described in the schedule to Statutory Instrument (SI) 145/2018 as a cantonment area, acting in terms of section 89 of the Defence Act (chapter 11.02),” Takaedza said, urging the court to set aside the declaration.
According to Takaedza, on August 3, 2018, Muchinguri-Kashiri, acting in terms of section 89 of the Defence Act, published the Defence (Cantonments) Notice 2018 (No. 51), which stipulated that the area described in the schedule shall be cantonment.
“The area described in the notice covers the entire applicant (RioZim)’s 206 mining claims as shown in the attached map prepared by the applicant, with reference to the Grid Points described in the notice. The map shows that the initial cantonment area covered 2 541,4 hectares, and the current declaration extends the cantonment area to 79 300 hectares. The map was prepared after the applicant tried in vain to inspect the map referred to in the schedule,” he said.
Takaedza said following the declaration by the minister, his company later learnt that two other companies, Falcon Resources (Pvt) Ltd and Rusununguko Nkululeko (Pvt) Ltd, were carrying out mining activities in the same area.
He also said earlier in February this year, Falcon Resources wrote a letter requesting that RioZim grant it a tribute in respect of its chrome ore claims, but his firm did not respond.
Falcon Resources (Pvt) Ltd has two directors, who are also the only shareholders, Mohammed Tariq Aziz, a Pakistan national and Aneeqa Zubair, a Dutch national. Both were believed to be former Pakistan army officers who were attachées or on secondment to the Zimbabwe Defence Forces between 1980 and 2000.
Rusununguko Nkululeko (Pvt) Ltd has two directors who are also the shareholders, Sibusiso Moyo and Jacob Malate of Manyame Airforce base in Harare.
“The applicant understands that the two shareholders are, however, nominees of the recently formed Defence Economic Development Directorate, an arm through which the first respondent controls Rusununguko Nkululeko operations and carries out business activities,” he said.
Mines minister Winston Chitando, was cited as second respondent.