Saturday, February 22, 2014

(SUNDAY MAIL ZW) Govt probes land deals
Sunday, 01 December 2013 00:00
Sunday Mail Reporter

Government has ordered provincial land committees in Masvingo and Mashonaland West to investigate allegations that some land reform beneficiaries are subletting land to former white commercial farmers.

Lands and Rural Resettlement Minister Dr Douglas Mombeshora disclosed that his office is receiving disturbing reports that indicate that some land reform beneficiaries are covertly getting into partnerships with former commercial farmers. Dr Mombeshora noted the sub-letting of land is illegal.

“I have since advised the Minister of State for Provincial Affairs for Masvingo Province Cde Kudakwashe Bhasikiti to assist members of the provincial land committee in carrying out proper investigations into the underhand land deals that are said to be going on in Masvingo East district.

As a ministry we are disturbed and keen to ascertain the ownership status of the farms in the district hence Cde Bhasikiti and his team will carry investigations and present a report to us so that we can take appropriate action.

“The provincial lands committee comprises of members of the security sector, so it is possible that the police will assist in these investigations,” said Dr Mombeshora.

Since last year hundreds of landless villagers from Zaka, Bikita, Gutu and Chivi have been occupying farms in Masvingo East district, setting up makeshift structures arguing that the new black owners were proxies of former farmers. Police at one time moved in and destroyed the structures on the farms but the land-hungry villagers refused to move.

Dr Mombeshora added that there are also reports that leasing of land was also rampant in Mashonaland West province.

Commenting on a proposed land audit, Cde Mombeshora revealed that a funding request has since been presented to Treasury.

“We have submitted our presentation to Treasury and once our budget is approved we will then carry out the audit countrywide,” he said.

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