FORMER President Robert Mugabe’s family business, Gushungo Holdings, which was last month, through its security officer Mkhululi Nyoni, ordered off Smithfield Farm in Mazowe, has vowed to stay put arguing the matter was irregularly dealt with by the High Court.
High Court judge Justice Happius Zhou granted a provisional order, evicting Gushungo Holdings together with the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) Support Unit.
He ordered them to desist from interfering with small-scale gold miners following an urgent chamber application by Shepherd Nyazvigo, Bright Mawonga and Mohammed Rezwani Khan.
But, in a sudden turn of events, Mugabe’s security officer, through his lawyer Advocate Thabani Mpofu, on February 5, filed a response to the application urging the court to discharge the granted provisional order.
In his founding affidavit, Nyoni denied having personally been served with the application, but said he “had no difficulties with the fact that the urgent chamber application was served on his employer”.
“The fact of the matter, however, is that the notice of set-down was never so served. As a result, though the provisional order was granted in default, it is clear that it was afforded as a result of the irregularity by non-service. The court was itself taken advantage of. It is for that reason that the matter ought to be heard on an urgent basis so that second respondent’s (Gushungo Holdings) position is also considered in court,” Nyoni said.
He further said although Justice Zhou dealt with the matter in his chambers, none of the cited respondents had legal personality.
“In particular, the chief security officer is a non-legal persona and proceedings brought under such circumstances are invalid. The application ought to be struck off the roll for that reason. Further, none of the mining authorities were cited in this mining dispute,” Nyoni said.
“In view of the Special Grant referred to above and taking into account the fact that none of the documents placed before the court by the applicants (Nyazvigo, Mawonga and Khan) evidence mining rights, applicants patently do not have a cause of action.”
According to the court papers, sometime in 2013, Nyazvigo and his co-applicants were chased and dispossessed of their mining claims by Nyoni and the ZRP on the basis that they were mining in a protected zone.
However, the miners, last November returned to their sites, but the ZRP and Nyoni deployed their officers on Smithfield Farm and barred the three men from further carrying out mining operations on their claims.
They then approached the court and a provisional ruling was made in their favour.