Former first lady Grace Mugabe’s ally, Smelly Dube, is on the verge of losing her Gweru house, after she failed to pay legal fees.
Dube has since filed a High Court application seeking to suspend the sale in execution of her property.
In the application, the businesswoman cited Gamanje (Private) Limited and the Bulawayo Sheriff, as the first and second respondents.
“This is an application for suspension of sale in execution of my dwelling namely certain piece of land situate in the district of Gwelo, being Stand 3251 Gwelo Township lands, measuring 3 480 square metres, held under deed of transfer 632/2014 referred to as my property,” Dube said.
The application comes after Gamanje had obtained an order against Dube and two others — namely Limukani Sibanda and the minister of State for Provincial Affairs (Bulawayo) — in January 2015.
Gamanje proceeded to cause the issuance of the writ of execution against Dube’s property in order to recover $22 748, 75.
Dube, however, said the burden to pay the legal costs lied on the shoulders of all three.
“This means that out of the $22 748,75, I am liable to pay $7 582,92. The other portion is the burden of the other two respondents. If the order was to the effect that myself and the other respondents were jointly and severally liable for the costs, it would have meant that one of us could pay for the others,” she argued.
“The property which was attached by the respondent is jointly owned by myself and my husband one Mncedisi Dube . . . I will hasten to add that this is our only immovable property which is also our residential place,” she added.
According to Dube, she stays at the house together with her husband, mother-in-law, two children, her niece, two helpers and a gardener.
She said if the property is sold, it means that all the occupants will be left homeless and will suffer undue hardships.
With the current economic situation, Dube said the occupants of the property were financially incapacitated to buy any immovable property.
“Our children are out of employment which is the reason why we are staying with them even though they are out of age.
“For the foregoing reasons and also considering the amount involved ($7 582,92), I am of the firm view and belief that a payment plan of at least $2 000 per month will be reasonable enough to liquidate my indebtedness to the respondent at the same time protecting my matrimonial home from being sold.
“I have since admitted owing the debtor, I have made a payment plan which I believe is reasonable in the circumstances,” she said.
The respondents have challenged Dube’s application, accusing her of falsely pleading poverty when she is a woman of means.
“The $2 000 that the applicant has tendered is sufficient for her to rent an alternative property and therefore there is no possibility that she will be destitute.
“It is submitted that this application has been brought in bad faith in an attempt to delay the execution against the applicant’s immovable property.
“This application is an abuse of court process justifying an award of costs on the higher scale,” the respondents said.