Home » Judicial » Government Loses Whitecliff Appeal

GOVERNMENT’S bid to regularise the compulsory acquisition of Whitecliff Farm last week hit a snag after the Supreme Court threw out its appeal.

The Supreme Court on Thursday struck off the roll the challenge by the Minister of Lands and Rural Resettlement against the Administrative Court’s decision to dismiss Government’s confirmation application because Government had flouted the lawful procedure followed in appeals of that nature.

In terms of Section 20 of the Administrative Act, a party can only appeal against an interlocutory order by first seeking leave to do so.

But Government went straight to the Supreme Court challenging the decision of the Administrative Court, which the court of appeal ruled to be interlocutory.

Last year the Administrative Court threw out an application by Government to validate the compulsory acquisition of Whitecliff Farm because settlers allocated the land by the State were still on the land in defiance of a 2012 Supreme Court order.

The Administrative Court therefore ruled that Government had to first comply with the court order before seeking audience at the courts. Government then appealed against the Administrative Court’s decision at the Supreme Court but on Thursday Justice Elizabeth Gwaunza struck the case off the roll for non-compliance with the law.

“The appellant did not state in his notice of appeal, nor is there evidence on record, that he sought the leave of the court a quo to appeal to this court, as he should properly have done in terms of Section 20(2) (b) of the Act.

“The appeal is accordingly not properly before this court, and should be struck off the roll.

“It is consequently ordered that the matter be and is hereby struck off the roll. There shall be no order as to costs,” ruled Justice Gwaunza.

Justices Antonia Guvava and Susan Mavangira concurred with the judgment.

Mr Pfugari’s lawyer, Mr Isaiah Mureriwa, said the striking down of the case meant Government had lost its appeal, a development that leaves the Administrative Court’s decision in force.

“We won the case and the recent striking down of the matter means Government has lost its appeal and that the earlier order remains effective.

“But on the issue of eviction, we are yet to take instructions from our client Mr Pfugari,” said Mr Mureriwa of Scanlen and Holderness law firm.

Source : The Herald