The matter dealt with an appeal against a decision of the High Court to dismiss a matter for want of jurisdiction. The appellant had sought an injunction against the respondents in a claim for nuisance and trespass on its mining area. The High Court held that it lacked jurisdiction to entertain the matter as a court of first instance since s 100 of the Mines and Minerals Development Act No. 11 of 2016 designated the High Court as an appellate court and not a court of first instance.
The Court of Appeal considered whether the import of the act was to strip the High Court of jurisdiction by conferring jurisdiction to hear and determine all disputes in the Mines Appeals Tribunal. In interpreting the meaning of ss 96 to 100 of the act, the court cited the rule in Mazoka v Mwanawasa and Others (2005) ZR 138 to the effect that the literal rule of statutory interpretation would be applied unless it led to an absurdity. The court observed that a reading of the act did not grant the tribunal jurisdiction in all matters. The facts showed that the respondents did not have a mining licence and appeared to be trespassers, which subject matter the High Court had jurisdiction to determine. The court concluded that the High Court erred in holding that it did not have jurisdiction to entertain the matter.
Accordingly, the ruling was set aside and the case remitted to the High Court for trial.