By Style Reporter
Government has intervened in the mining claim wrangle pitting local Pentecostal pioneers Mathias and Mildred Madziwanzira’s MilMath Security Pvt Ltd and another company, Earthrow Investments, owned by one Prosper Machekera and his partners.
According to documents in possession of this publication, the Madziwanziras have been failing to evict Earthrow despite government having directed them to do so at some point with the latter claiming that the matter was still before the courts.
According to a letter dated February 28, 2020 written by Mashonaland East acting provincial mining director one T Kashiri, and addressed to the police in the province, government recommended the eviction of illegal miners to pave way for MilMath Security.
“This office has received a letter of complaint from MilMath Security (Pvt) (Ltd), that the above-named claim has been invaded by illegal miners, hence disturbing commencement of their mining operations. Please assist them by ensuring that all illegal miners are removed from the claim as soon as possible to pave way for proper mining by the legally registered miner,” read the letter.
Mathias and Mildred are one of the top gold producers in Mashonaland East province and have set up a milling plant in the Makosa area in Mutoko that processes gold for other miners.
However, the eviction did not materialise, prompting government to write to the company giving their new position concerning the dispute.
In the letter dated June 25, 2020 signed by Kashiri and directed to MilMath Security, government revealed that Earthrow Investments wrote to the Police Commissioner General stating they would only be evicted after a court order.
“The other party to this dispute is aware of the Honourable minister’s verdict but has informed this office and the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) through a letter addressed to the Commissioner General of Police, REF:AR/mk, that they can only be evicted from the disputed area following a High Court order. It is in this regard that you are encouraged to seek relief from since the minister of Mines and mining Development’s verdict is now in place. This office did not stop the ZRP from carrying out their duties,” wrote Kashiri.
This paper is also in possession of a letter written by Mines minister Winston Chitando dated July 30, 2019 in which he dismissed an appeal to his office by Earthrow Investments.
“The appeal by Earthrow Investments (Pvt) Ltd is not properly before me because there was no intention to cancel the Certificate of Registration in terms of Section 50 of the Mines and Minerals Act Chapter (21:05). Therefore I have no jurisdiction to hear this matter,” read Chitando’s letter.
“Even if this appeal was properly before me, Earthrow Investments (Pvt) Ltd lacks locus standi to bring an appeal before the minister. This is because the said company does not hold any mining claims on the disputed area and there is no evidence to show that Earthrow Investments (Pvt) Ltd has been authorised to act behalf of Mr P Machekera.”
In its response to the eviction order issued by government, Earthrow Investments wrote to the police through their lawyer Admire Rubaya of Rubaya and Chatambudza dated March 11, 2020 saying MilMath lost the battle to control the mine at the High Court.
The company also blamed confusion within the Mines ministry especially at provincial level.
“For the record, our clients Mr Prosper Machekere and Earthrow Investments (Pvt) Ltd are in lawful control of the mining location and are conducting lawful mining activities. We therefore impress it upon you to refuse to be abused, misused and overused by litigants who have lost cases in the courts of law.
“We have been instructed to demand that you desist from unlawfully seeking to remove our clients’ employees who are conducting mining activities on the mining location. It seems as if there has been some confusion in the Provincial Ministry of Mines and Mining Development Office because they wrote another letter in favour of our clients for the removal of illegal miners from the same location where MilMath Security is now seeking to illegally remove them,” read the letter.
According to the High Court judgement by Jusitice David Mangota issued in 2018 (HC6647/17), both parties’ claims are equal in completion and that MilMath Security Pvt Ltd (the applicant) failed to establish its case on a balance of probabilities, hence the application lacking merit.
MilMath, however, said the High Court judgement was an application for eviction to which the ruling did not consider the minister’s appeal decision by Earthrow.
According to a letter dated October 25, 2016, the acting provincial mining director, one Mrs G Chacha, said Earthrow Investment had its claim forfeited.
“After investigations of the submissions made on August 5, 2016 by Earthrow Investment (Pvt) Ltd, it was established that Radnor 51 (29824BM) is located in Chipenguli/Djenje mountains which is situated 3,1km due north of the contested area. This Radnor 51 was registered in the name of one Mr P Machekera.
“On September 21, 2016 another submission was made by Earthrow Investment (Pvt) Ltd in which a sketchy diagram was shown indicating coordinates of Radnor 58 (29825NM),” Chacha said.
“Sketchy coordinates do not tally with those of the conversion coordinates and endorsed map in our records. Radnor 58 (29825BM) was forfeited on April 10, 2013 according to the records in this office.”