FORMER Zanu PF youth leader Lewis Matutu has been elbowed out of the late business tycoon John Bredenkamp’s gold-rich Thetford Estate in Mazowe, the Zimbabwe Independent has established.
This comes after a fierce fight for control between Matutu, through a mining consortium, Yamatsanga Mining, and the late Bredenkamp’s son Gavin.
The mining consortium was granted mining rights in the middle of Bredenkamp’s 1 500ha Thetford Estate in Mazowe in February 2020, while Gavin Bredenkamp was allocated the farm in the same year, following the death of his father.
There are indications that Matutu was frustrated through various legal battles, which culminated in the expiry of the consortium’s mining grant. This saw Matutu being elbowed out of the mining area as he failed to renew the mining grant.
“There were serious delaying tactics which played out until Matutu lost rights to mine in the area. This is a gold-rich mining claim and Matutu was frustrated out of the area,” a source privy to the developments said.
“Renewing the mining grant is now proving to be a challenge as some political bigwigs are now targeting the same mining area.” When contacted for comment, Gavin Bredenkamp dropped the call the moment the reporter introduced himself.
Matutu’s mobile number was not available. But there are indications that some bigwigs in Zanu PF and government have expressed interest in taking over the mining concessions. Another source said political heavyweights are aware that Matutu was no longer as powerful as before, hence the stampede for the concessions.
Thetford Farm has been subject to contestation.
Last year, the late farmer’s wife, Jennifer Bredenkamp, filed an urgent chamber application at the High Court to stop her son, Gavin, from taking ownership of the family’s farm. The case was filed under Case Number HC 132/21. Jennifer Bredenkamp and five other applicants were being represented by Atherstone and Cook, while Gavin Bredenkamp was represented by Titan Law. The application by Jennifer was seeking protection and an interdict on Gavin and the Ministry of Lands from interfering with rights and freedoms until a final decision had been made by the courts.
This came after a vicious fight had continued to play out within the tycoon’s family, which saw Gavin evicting his mother and siblings from the farm.
Court documents say in 2000, John Bredenkamp settled at Thetford Farm but shortly thereafter the farm was listed as state land by the government.
The Bredenkamp family objected to that listing and requested the government to allow the family to continue residing and operating the farm. The government did not issue an offer letter in the family’s name that allowed the Bredenkamps to utilise the land for 20 years, that is, between 2000 and 2020.
In January 2021, Gavin informed Jennifer that an offer letter had been issued in his favour by the Minister of Lands. He demanded that his two sisters and other employees immediately vacate.
Thereafter, Gavin’s lawyers issued a three months’ notice for them to vacate the farm.-ZimInd