Esidakeni, a 553-hectare dairy farm is co-owned by human rights advocate Siphosami Malunga and business partners – gold miner Charles Moyo and a National University of Science and Technology (NUST) scientist Zephaniah Dhlamini who purchased it in 2017 from former white farmers through Kershelmar Farms (Private) Limited.
However, they risk losing their farm after the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, and Rural Resettlement Anxious Masuku reportedly acquired it via a Notice of Acquisition General Notice 3042 of 2020 in the government gazette on December 18, 2020.
The beneficiaries include Dr Mpofu through his company Mswelangubo Farm (Private) Limited that he owns with his wife, Sikhanyisiwe, who was allocated 154 hectares.
The controversial offer was made despite Dr Mpofu reportedly owning a catalogue of real estate in Bulawayo and Victoria Falls, with total farm holdings that come to at least 65,000 hectares, placing him “amongst the country’s biggest landowners.”
This was revealed in a 2012 investigation by Partnership Africa Canada where Dr Mpofu emerged as one of the “top five landowners in Zimbabwe.”
Bulawayo businessman and NUST lecturer Dumisani Madzivanyati was allocated 50 hectares while Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) operative Reason Mpofu who is believed to be closely related to the former mines minister was also allocated 50 hectares.
In their court papers, Malunga and his partners also revealed that the CIO’s co-deputy director-general Gatsha Mazithulela and Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs minister Richard Moyo had interests in the farm.
Moyo told CITE in an interview last week that he had no interest in the farm and revealed that he actually recommended Dr Mpofu to be allocated a portion of the farm.
Dhlamini confirmed to this publication that Dr Mpofu’s son and their workers moved into the farm on Saturday.
“I think they want to tie us since the order was for Madzivanyati to leave, maybe they want us to have another order for them,” Dhlamini said, adding Dr Mpofu’s people were working on the same land where their workers were harvesting onions
Dhlamini added, “We must go to court and stop him. Mpofu can’t move into the farm when the matter is before the courts.”
Reached for comment, Dr Mpofu said he has a right to be at Esidakeni farm since he has an offer letter.
“They are crazy, they think they can use their money to grab land that is not theirs. I have an offer letter and I don’t even know there is Malunga and co. Their argument is just madness, which I cannot tolerate.”
Dr Mpofu questioned how he was involved in the matter between Malunga, his partners and Madzivanyati.
“If (Malunga and partners) bought it, they should avail their papers. They displayed my offer letter everywhere, on Twitter but where are their own title deeds?” he asked.
“They must also display their own title deeds we see them. If they have the title deeds, we will go back to the government and say this farm is not yours, it belongs to Malunga. They must produce their papers but they are not producing them.”