Ex-minister Kuruneri locks horns with ‘illegal’ miners

23 May, 2017 - 04:05 0 Views
Ex-minister Kuruneri locks horns with ‘illegal’ miners Christopher Kuruneri

The Herald

Christopher Kuruneri

Christopher Kuruneri

Fidelis Munyoro Chief Court Reporter—
Former Finance Minister Cde Christopher Kuruneri has dragged a mining company operating on his farm to court seeking an eviction order. Cde Kuruneri has approached the High Court after his bid to evict Chida-Desmond (Pvt) Ltd from his Ascotvale Farm in Mazowe on the strength of an order he obtained in April last year against the firm’s workers – Sipho Mlalazi, Arnold Chidawanyika and Alice Mufandaedza – hit a brick wall.

Chida-Desmond lawyers Zvimba and Madzima Law Chambers had written to the Sheriff indicating that the firm was not part of the court order, which Cde Kuruneri sought to evict.

The development prompted Cde Kuruneri, who is also Mt Darwin legislator, to scurry back to the High Court now seeking to evict the company, which had been operating on his farm since 1988.

In his application filed at the High Court this month, Cde Kuruneri wants the company and all those claiming occupation through it to vacate the farm.

He argues that the firm has no right to mine gold on his farm without his consent.

“Without the consent of the land owner as is required by Sections 78 and 25 of the Mines and Minerals Act, the respondent’s business is illegal on my farm,” he argues.

“The respondent is being unjustly enriched by mining illegally on my farm, thereby prejudicing me.”

But Ms Rumbidzayi Zvimba, who is acting for Chida-Desmond, is opposing the application.

She argues that the procedure chosen by Cde Kuruneri to evict her client by way of an application was fatally defective.

The issue at the centre of the dispute, Ms Zvimba avers, was dispute of fact, which required the court to hear evidence from both parties.

She also argues that Cde Kuruneri has no legal basis to apply for the eviction of her client from the farm.

“In terms of Section 58 as read with Section 50 of the (Mines and Mining) Act, the commissioner is the only person with competence to challenge legality of a certificate of registration that has been in existence for more than two years.

“It is pretty unfortunate that the applicant is failing to appreciate the Act and that the respondent has been a holder of the certificate of registration and mining claims on the farm for nearly 30 years and challenging same through a court application is gross misdirection on a point of law.”

In April last year, the High Court ordered the eviction of Mlalazi, Chidawanyika and Mufandaedza, who were operating a stamp mill on Cde Kuruneri’s farm.

Cde Kuruneri sought the order against the three in their personal capacities.

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