Chefs fight over late tycoon’s gold claims

March 25, 2021

TINASHE MAKICHI

A nasty fight for gold mining claims at the late business tycoon, John Bredenkamp’s Thetford farm in Mazowe, has erupted amid revelations that chefs are claiming control of the mining claims, it has emerged.

Business Times understands that jostling for claims started when Bredenkamp’s son Gavin Bredenkamp recently got a new offer letter for the farm.

It is understood that the move unsettled various political and powerful bigwigs who had acquired title on mining concessions within the farm.

The fresh title offered to Gavin, the bigwigs believed, was likely to threaten their mining interests in the farm.

The interested bigwigs, well-placed sources said, were well aware of the expiry of Bredenkamp’s lease agreement on the farm.

Following his death, there were already some mining manoeuvres happening at the farm while some illegal gold miners had already started accessing some parts of the farm.

“The new offer letter availed to (Gavin) Bredenkamp unsettled a lot of people who are holders of mining concessions within the farm.

There were bigwigs who were interested in the mining concessions within the farm following the death of the powerful business tycoon.

So the fact that Gavin is armed with a new offer letter, a lot of interests are under threat,” one source told Business Times adding that another potential conflict is around the game reserve within the farm.

Contacted for comment, Gavin said: “I don’t know what you are talking about.”

Thetford farm is already subject to contestation and recently Bredenkamp’s widow Jennifer filed an urgent chamber application at the High Court to stop Gavin from possessing the family’s farm.

The case was filed under Case Number HC 132/21. Jennifer Bredenkamp and five other applicants are being represented by Atherstone and Cook while Gavin is represented by Titan Law.

The application is seeking protection of Jennifer Bredenkamp and other applicants’ residence and usage of Thetford Farm by interdicting Gavin Bredenkamp and the ministry of lands from interfering with that residence usage, rights and freedoms until a final decision relating to the rights of the parties are met by the Court.

The court application was prompted by the move by Gavin who had taken steps to evict his mother and siblings from the family’s Thetford Estate Farm. According to court documents seen by Business Times, the move has exposed his mother’s siblings to the extent of threatening their health, life and property.

According to an argument on the urgency of the matter, the lawyers argue that the evictions were imminent at the farm at the insistence of Gavin Bredenkamp against his mother.

In an affidavit dated February 22, 2021 seen by Business Times, Jennifer said she was living under a daily threat of eviction from Gavin, hence the reason she and other five applicants had to approach lawyers for legal representation.

According to the court documents, in the year 2000, John settled at Thetford Farm but shortly thereafter, the farm was listed by the government and converted to state land.

The Bredenkamp family objected to that listing   and requested the government to at least allow them to continue residing and operating the farm on account of its erstwhile status as part owners or beneficiaries of the farm.

While at the material time, the government did not issue an offer letter in the family’s names that the government allowed the family to continue utilising the land for the next 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 and that he wanted his two sisters and other key employees at the farm to immediately vacate.

Shortly, Gavin’s lawyers issued a three months’ notice for Jennifer to vacate the farm.

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