FORMER First Lady Grace Mugabe has formed a trust company, Trustees of the Grace Mugabe Foundation, as she scales up her fight to take over gold claims at Smithfield Farm in Mazowe.
On Friday, Grace filed an urgent High Court chamber application seeking to evict four artisanal miners from the property and to be confirmed the sole proprietor of the gold-rich farm.
The latest development came after the former First Family’s private security guards last week went on the rampage and violently ejected the miners and seized their gold ore and mining equipment as the ownership dispute turned nasty.
The panners immediately filed a separate urgent application seeking to bar the Mugabes from interfering with their activities.
In her application, Grace, through one of her company’s trustees, Farai Jemwa, claimed she was a legitimate holder of a certificate of registration and inspection certificate for four gold claims, namely XMAS 122, 123, 102 and 103 of Mondo 4, whose ownership is being contested by both parties.
She added that she obtained an offer letter for the citrus farm, also known as Lemon Pool, on June 22, 2017.
Jemwa said the mining rights held by the four artisanal miners — Shepard Nyazvigo, Bright Mawonga, Mahommed Rezwan Khan and Mega Mining Syndicate, had long expired.
“The mining rights afforded to the first respondent (Nyazvigo) … expired by operations of law since the first respondent was not carrying out any mining activities for a period in excess of 24 months upon being issued with the certificate of registration,” he said.
“The second and third respondents are holders of inspection certificates, with the second respondent’s (Mawonga) certificate covering three gold reef claims named Mondo 3 situated at Smithfield Farm.
“Third respondent’s (Khan) inspection certificate expired by operations of law, it having been issued on September 14, 2007 and the same having been valid for a period of 12 months.
“Fourth respondent (Mega Mining), just like other respondents, are unlawfully carrying out mining activities on applicant’s farm . . . the certificate of registration was issued on September 16, 2011 and a certificate of inspection was issued on October 8, 2012 both which expired by operation of law.”
“In this application, the relief applicant (Trustees of the Grace Mugabe Foundation) seeks is two-fold.
“On the first leg, applicant seeks an urgent basis and pending the return date, a temporal (sic) interdict, which bars all the four respondents (Nyazvigo, Mawonga, Khan and Mega Mining Syndicate) from accessing and/or carrying out any mining operations on applicant’s Smithfield farm in Mazowe also known as Lemon Pool,” the foundation said.
“Secondly, on the return date, applicant seeks a declaratory order, which declares the mining operations of the respondents’ unlawful and consequential relief in the form of an eviction order of the respondents.”
Jemwa added that their farming activities were being disrupted by the panners, whom she accused of wantonly uprooting the citrus trees and conducting illegal mining
“Respondents continue to haphazardly open new unsanctioned roads through the applicant’s citrus plantations and, in the process, they have destroyed more than a hectare of applicant’s citrus plantations,” he said.
“Applicant has been prejudiced of thousands of dollars’ worth of citrus trees, which were chopped and are being chopped down by respondents as they carry out their unlawful mining activities … To make matters worse, the respondents are prospecting and conducting mining activities on ground not open for prospecting and mining activities.”
The matter is yet to be set down for hearing.