Richard Muponde, Gwanda Correspondent
THE permanent secretary for Mines and Mining Development, Professor Francis Gudyanga has been sucked into a 16- year Gwanda mining wrangle in which he made a determination which the High Court has said lacked logic.
The wrangle is pitting prominent Gwanda miners, Mr John Chaya of Mixnote Private Limited and Mrs Evans Majola of Sally 5 over Ettrick Mine GA1190 in Collen Bawn which is registered under Mr Chaya’s company but had been mined by Mrs Majola for the past 16 years.
Mrs Majola was refusing to cede the Mine to Mr Chaya arguing that it belonged to her, although a map of the Mine indicated that it belonged to Mr Chaya’s Mixnote Investment.
Her argument was that she mined the claim for over a decade without Mr Chaya complaining or claiming ownership.
Faced with the challenge, Mr Chaya appealed to the provincial mining commissioner’s office for Mrs Majola to cease operations until the office solved the dispute.
In October last year, the Ministry’s Mine Dispute Resolution Committee ruled in favour of Mr Chaya saying Mrs Majola’s Sally 5 Mine and the former’s do not share any common boundary and she should leave the Mine.
The committee ruled that Mrs Majola should stop working at Ettrick Mine and concentrate her activities at Sally 5 Mine which is registered in her name.
“The beacons of both Sally and Ettrick Mine must be established in their original positions as shown on the enclosed survey sketch plan and as lodged with Ministry offices at initial registrations,” wrote a Mr C.W Dube acting provincial mining director.
However they advised Mrs Majola to appeal to the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development Mine Dispute Resolution Committee where Professor Gudyanga made a ruling that the mine should be given to Mrs Majola.
Mr Chaya then made an application for a review of the determination at the Bulawayo High Court but the acting PMD failed to stop Mrs Majola from mining until the matter was finalised.
This forced Mr Chaya to make an urgent chamber application under case number HC401 seeking an interdict barring Mrs Majola from continuing mining activities at the disputed claim.
Mrs Majola, PMD and the Mines Minister were cited as the first, second and third respondents. In his provisional order, Justice Nicholas Mathonsi ruled that Prof Gudyanga acted incompetently and without logic.
“To say the decision on appeal is shocking would be an understatement. It defies logic in mind that the survey commissioned by the second respondent had confirmed that there was no boundary dispute between the parties and therefore there was no need for the applicant to adjust its boundaries. What the survey had shown is that the first respondent had ‘abandoned’ her own Sally 5 Mine claim and was mining at the applicant’s shaft at Ettrick Mine,” said Justice Mathonsi.
He ruled that Mrs Majola should cease operations until the finalisation of the application for review against Prof Gudyanga’s determination.
The cited parties have not opposed Justice Mathonsi’s provisional order