Former Editor at The Herald, a state-controlled publication, Caesar Zvayi has been booted out of a gold mine in Kwekwe.
Zvayi and his business partner Fidelity Printers and Refiners (Pvt) Ltd, a government-owned entity, have since dragged the Mines Minister, Winston Chitando arguing that the seizure was unlawful and should, therefore, be rescinded.
According to the petitioners, Minister Chitando repossessed Mirage 3 Mine without explanation or notice in June last year, seemingly over arrears and reallocated it to one Jonah Nyevera.
Zvayi’s company, Highway Holdings, is in partnership with Fidelity Printers, the main plaintiff.
In an urgent High Court application citing Chitando in his official capacity, Fidelity general manager Francis Kunaka argues:
The decision by the first and second respondents to forfeit the applicant’s mining claim is invalid. It is palpably arbitrary and violates every known procedure intended to ensure fairness, transparency, and justice.
On 8 January 2021, the applicant addressed a letter to the first and second respondents seeking to be informed of any arrears in respect of statutory payments over a claim that it owns.
The applicant has never received a demand for payment of anything from the respondents or notice that failure to make such payments could have adverse consequences. Had such notice been received, the applicant would have promptly acted to secure its interests.
Had the applicant not sought to put its house in order, it would still be in blissful ignorance of the decisions made against it.
Kunaka says Minister Chitando’s letter to Fidelity which dated 11 January 2021 does not give detailed reasons behind the decision to forfeit the mining claim, only making reference to statutory provisions.
Fidelity Printers is also seeking an order interdicting and restraining Nyevero from entering the disputed mining premises or disturbing operations.
But in his notice of opposition, Nyevera argued that he was allocated the mine after the expiry of Fidelity Printers’ mining rights and denied ever hiring thugs to evict the company.
Nyevera added it should be him seeking an order to stop the “illegal mining operations” by Zvayi and his partner on the basis that gold is a finite resource which can be depleted.
Nyevera also argued that Fidelity forfeited its right to sue when it sold the mining area to Caesar Zvayi.
The matter is yet to be heard.