Human rights advocate Siphosami Malunga and his two business partners were on Monday granted bail by a magistrate after they were charged with the “occupation of gazetted land without lawful authority.”
Zephaniah Dhlamini and Charles Moyo were arrested on Sunday and held overnight at Nyamandlovu Police Station. Malunga presented himself to the police on Monday before the court hearing.
The three men were not asked to plead when they appeared before Tsholotsho magistrate Victor Mpofu.
They were each granted ZWL$10 000 bail despite the National Prosecuting Authority opposing bail.
In a statement provided to police, Malunga said he and his partners who are directors in a company called Kershelmar Farms were presently not in occupation of Esidakeni Farm.
The three men’s lawyer, Josphat Tshuma said there was no justifiable reason for their arrest because the gazetting of the farm for the compulsory acquisition was challenged at the High Court and the matter is pending.
Tshuma argued that the High Court and Supreme Court had made it clear that Malunga, Moyo and Dhlamini “must be restored into the possession of the farm, which means their occupation is not unlawful.”
Magistrate Mpofu remanded the trio to 6 September for trial.
Malunga and his colleagues purchased Esidakeni Estate, a former dairy farm, in 2017 after buying shares in Kershelmer Farms.
However, the government went on to list the 554-hectare property for compulsory acquisition in 2020.
The three challenged the gazetting of the property through the courts and the matter is still pending.
Lovemore Jiyane and Legina Muchimba, who said they are some of the beneficiaries offered land on the farm by the lands ministry, filed a police report against Malunga and his colleagues resulting in the arrests of Dhlamini and Moyo.