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Fierce fight over ‘rich’ gold claims

Gold bars

A Mudzi-based gold mining company has approached the Constitutional Court seeking to overturn a recent ruling made against it by the Supreme Court after describing it as a sham to property rights.

A recent judgement favoured the respondent, businessman Prosper Machekera as the owner of Radnor 58 resulting in the company approaching the ConCourt citing a litany of loopholes in the handling of the case.

In its chamber application for leave to appeal filed at the ConCourt, Milmath Security Private Limited represented by its director Mathias Madziwanzira said the Supreme Court order violated the right to a fair hearing among other reasons.

“The basic of the application is that on March 10, 2023, the Supreme Court of Zimbabwe handed down an order which violates the applicant’s fundamental rights and freedoms namely, the right to property, the right to a fair hearing and the right to equal protection and benefit of the law,” read the court papers.

“The judgment upholds a High Court judgment which deprives the applicant of its property, namely gold claims, for no reason.

“The High Court judgment also reviews the forfeiture of the first respondent's base mineral claims, which took place in 2007 in the absence of an application for review and in violation of the right to a fair hearing.”

The disputed gold claims that fall under Radnor 58 are located in the gold-rich area of Makaha in Mudzi, Mashonaland East province.

The provincial mining commissioner, Mines minister Winston Chitando, permanent secretary and chief mining commissioner were cited as respondents in this case that has been hogging the limelight for years.

“The Supreme Court completely ignored the applicant’s grounds of appeal and the evidence before it and resolved the matter on the basis of a ground of appeal formulated by it,” read the court papers.

“Consequently, it did not hear the applicant and thus violated its right to a fair hearing.

“The High Court granted first respondent relief in respect of property that is not referred to in any of first respondent's papers, which relief was also inconsistent with the averments made in the founding affidavit.

“In so doing, the High Court infringed the applicant's fundamental rights, particularly the right to a fair hearing and to the equal protection and benefit of the law.

“By upholding such decision, the Supreme Court equally violated provisions of the constitution.”

In the court papers, Milmath Security Private Limited argued that the judgment didn’t address the issue of mining coordinates in respect of the three mining conversion blocks, which were awarded in the High Court judgment and confirmed by the Supreme Court, and yet these three mining blocks are located some three kilometres away from the disputed location as defined by the undisputed coordinates on court records.

In his opposing affidavit dated April 20, Machekera said the disputed gold claims belong to him as ruled by the courts.

“I am the prior holder of mining rights since 2005. I never lost those rights, and applicant cannot lay a valid claim to same,” he said.

“The applicant simply does not agree with these by the court a quo and the High Court.”

In his answering affidavit, Madziwanzira insisted that the courts granted Machekera the gold claims that were forfeited.

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