Row over Pension Master’s house
16 October 2017
WHAT is being touted as an estate wrangle involving two wives of the late Pension Master in the Public Services Commission, Sylvester Mnkandla, barely a month after his death, is actually the fulfillment of the late Mnkandla’s wishes.
With rumours spreading that the two wives – Ignatia and Simbiso – have been staying together at his Mabelreign house and are now fighting over his estate, lawyers for Citizens Legal Aid Society and Advisory Trust have dismissed the claims and stated that the late Mnkandla had full ownership of the house by the time of his death and neither wife had any claims over the property nor a right to evict the other.
Rather it is the Citizens lawyers who, as directed by a High Court order, processed the eviction of Mnkandla’s first wife Ignatia who was now occupying the cottage.
Her belongings were taken outside on a rainy Monday afternoon, prompting neighbours and local councillor (ward 16) Peter Manjoro to intervene.
“I have known the late Mnkandla and his family since the late 80s and what just happened is so unlike him because knowing his background, he would not kick out his wife and children like that.
“They have been having this arrangement with his two wives since 2004 so how can he certainly order the eviction of his real family and grant his estate to his second wife who did not even bear him a single child?” said one neighbour.
“Some people want to reap where they haven’t sowed, Amai Mnkandla was a hard worker, she built the house together with the deceased.
“She left her job in Zimbabwe and relocated to South Africa to look after her husband and children.
“We used to see her travelling outside the country and coming back fending for the family until the second wife came in the picture,” said another source.
Another neighbour who was closer to Ignatia suggested the old widow was defrauded.
“Mai Mnkandla used to confide in me whenever she had problems and recently before her husband died, she was served with summons asking her to appear in court over matters to do with divorce.
“The papers had been processed when the late Mnkandla was critically ill, I told her to lodge a complaint but nothing materialised with the police.
“Now that Mnkandla has taken his rest, the papers have resurfaced to force Ignatia and her children out of the house,” said another disgruntled neighbour.
Reports say that Simbiso who now occupies the main house with her three daughters (not the late Mnkandla’s children) has been making threats to get rid of Ignatia.
Simbiso, who is a former United Nations envoy, is said to have threatened to use her links in politics to silence Igantia if she continued fighting her.
She has since housed her son-in-law only identified as Mutuke and also took over Mnkandla’s farm in Gweru and only comes to the capital during weekends.
“I don’t want people thinking I am responsible for this misfortune, I am not responsible for her eviction you have to talk to Mnkandla’s lawyer.
“If you people continue to call me I will take this matter to the First Lady, ndovazopedzerana nemi because makutondiita munhu akaipa.
“I am actually looking for a house because I am told we are also supposed to move out,” she claimed in the presence of H-Metro when Ignatia’s was being evicted.
Simbiso’s son-in-law only identified as Mutuke leapt to her defence.
“My understanding of the matter is that the marriage of my father-in-law and his ex-wife was annulled before he died and the eviction is at his orders,” he said.
Ignatia could not give a comment as she was seeking legal advice.
Her belongings which were strew all over were taken by her neighbours for safe-keeping.
H-Metro got in touch of the lawyers handling the matter and they confirmed Simbiso’s story.
According to the lawyers, and backed by evidence submitted to H-Metro, Mnkandla had his marriage to Ignatia nullified while he was still alive. Furthermore, he successfully applied for exclusive rights to his house leading to a High Court judgement to have Ignatia ejected from the house.
“I am applying for an order to uplift the XN Caveat Number 198/2007, that was noted or Deed of Transfer Number 2088/83, my property in Mabelreign, Harare.
“The said XN Caveat 198/2007 was unlawfully and wrongfully placed on my property by (Registrar of Deeds) at the unlawful instance of (Ignatia).
“I am the lawful and sole owner of stand number 1200, Mabelreign Township, Harare . . . I acquired this property through my own efforts and managed to get government guarantee for the mortgage which I had obtained from CABS. There was no assistance and/or contribution which I got from (Ignatia). She went away to stay in South Africa soon after our customary marriage. She never maintained the property. I lived the better part of my marital life without her and she was out of the said property,” said Mnkandla in his court application.
The High Court then ordered, in November 2016;
1. That the XN Caveat Number 198/2007 placed on Deed of Transfer Number 2088/1983 be and is hereby removed forthwith.
2. That the (Ignatia) be and is hereby restrained from interfering in any way with the Applicant’s property rights, title and interest in Stand Number 1200 Mabelreign, Township.
Ignatia was then given a “WRIT OF EJECTMENT” “ordering her and all her persons claiming through her, her goods and possessions from and out of all occupation and possession whatsoever of the said property”.
She was also odered to “leave the (property), to the end that the said Applicant, SYLVESTER MNKANDLA may peaceably enter into and possess the same.”
As a result, all the events happening at the Mabelreign house are actions of lawyers for Citizens Legal Aid Society and Advisory Trust who are merely carrying out High Court orders.