Home » Literacy » Zimbabwe: VPs Fail to Stop Beitbridge Conservancy Plunder

THE controversial invasion of Manange Safari conservancy in Beitbridge has sucked in vice-presidents Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko, amid reports the government is settling more people at the property it once declared unfit for human habitation.

The conservancy, which is based on Ian Ferguson's 18 000 hectare farm, Denlynian and is teeming with wildebeests, impala, eland and giraffes, among other animals, was invaded in October 2013, which resulted in the destruction of property and the ejection of foreign clients.

Ferguson has been battling to remove the invaders in vain ever since.

He revealed that more than 50 individuals had received offer letters for land on the conservancy and they were bringing cattle and goats, which was posing a threat to the delicate ecosystem.

"We have, until now, at tremendous expense, accrued legal costs, pursuing the respectable channels and protocols, at ministerial, provincial and district levels," Ferguson said.

Such is the desperation by Ferguson to get invaders off the farm that he approached both Mnangagwa and Mphoko for assistance late last year and has had several meetings with Lands minister Douglas Mombeshora.

Despite what Ferguson described as "positive talks" with the two vice-presidents, no action has been taken against the invaders.

"The sort of thing we have to put up with as an example is that one of the invaders Lizwelenkosi Mhlanga, who is a clearing agent in Beitbridge and comes from the Manicaland Province, trucked in cattle stud, Bonsmara and Brahman heifers and others amounting to over 200 head as well as purebred, 100 Boer goats and 100 Dorper sheep which his employees told us came from South Africa," he said.

"This man has been served with High Court ejectment orders and notices of removal by the Sheriff of the High Court on two occasions in 2014."

The livestock brought on the farm, Ferguson, said was causing untold damage, especially on the animals at the conservancy.

The livestock, Ferguson said, are rapidly destroying the very fragile ecosystem and turning it into a "dustbowl".

He accused Beitbridge chief land officer Mthulisi Moyo of causing "all the mayhem at the conservancy" by allocating land to the invaders. Ferguson said his son and lawyer had gone to see him over the invasions and they had a major disagreement over the issue.

When contacted for comment, Mhlanga said he had received an offer letter for the land in December 2014 for one of the five hectare plots.

There are 300 plots being allocated at the farm.

He said that the cattle he had brought onto the farm were for livestock farming.

Moyo was reluctant to comment, only saying that he "had not received any calls from Ferguson".

The Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority has also tried and failed to remove the invaders who continue to defy court rulings.

Source: Zimbabwe Standard

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