Mashudu Netsianda Senior Court Reporter
FORMER Zimbabwe Ambassador to Botswana and South Africa Phelekezela Mphoko is locked in a protracted legal wrangle with a Bulawayo firm, Terridan Motors (Pvt) Ltd, over a farm which Umguza Rural District Council allegedly fraudulently repossessed from the company and re-allocated to the ex-diplomat.
The company, through its director, Abslom Mukahiwa, filed an urgent chamber application at the Bulawayo High Court in which it cited Mphoko, Umguza RDC and National Fencing Company as respondents.
The company is accusing Mphoko of abusing his power. The respondents were given 10 days to file a notice of opposition to defend, but they failed to do so within the period.
Justice Maxwell Takuva yesterday granted an interim relief pending the finalisation of the matter.
“The third respondent (National Fencing) should forthwith cease and stop the removal of fencing and standards erected on Plot 13 Douglasdale,” ruled Justice Takuva.
In its application, Terridan Motors sought an interim order barring Mphoko from erecting a fence at Plot 13 Douglasdale under Umguza District and interfering with activities at the farm pending the finalisation of the matter.
According to court papers, Terridan Motors (Pvt) Ltd is accusing Umguza RDC of breaching the contract after the local authority had entered into a nine year lease agreement with the motoring company in 2009. The lease expires in August 2018.
Terridan Motors, through its lawyer, Sandra Sauramba of Majoko and Majoko Legal Practitioners, is challenging the cancellation of the lease agreement.
“Umguza RDC has sought to cancel the applicant’s lease but the applicant has challenged the cancellation in court pending proceedings before this honourable court. The council has, while the challenge to the cancellation is pending, allocated the same land to Mphoko,” said Sauramba.
She said Mphoko sought to despoil her client by contracting National Fencing Company to remove fencing and standards erected around the perimeter of the leased premises.
“National Fencing with knowledge of the applicant’s fencing and has without applicant’s permission erected tents to house its employees on the leased property and is likely to provide breach of the peace. The land leased should be used for agricultural purposes and in preparation for this, applicant fenced the entire leased land with nine strand fencing,” argued Sauramba.
In September 2013, Umguza RDC wrote a letter to Terridan Motors purporting to cancel the lease agreement it had entered with the applicant on allegations that the company had constructed permanent structures, which was contrary to the terms of the lease agreement.
Applicant contested the purported cancellation, culminating in the applicant instituting proceedings in Case number HC1932/14, which are still pending at the Bulawayo High Court.
“The acts of the respondents’ singly and collectively, constitute spoliation and applicant seeks protection from this honourable court against the naked and unashamed abuse of power by Mphoko and Umguza RDC.
“I pray that the respondents jointly and severally pay costs of this application on the scale as between the legal practitioner and clients because their conduct is deliberately contemptuous of the law of the land,” said Mukahiwa in his founding affidavit.