HARARE - Douglas Mombeshora, Lands and Rural Settlement minister, has warned that all illegal farm invaders will be evicted, and those who bought land from resettled farmers will not receive A1 settlement permits.
Mombeshora told a news conference at his Harare office yesterday that his ministry was carrying out a land audit.
“We are here not to protect corrupt people. Anyone who settled illegally on any land will be removed,” Mombeshora said.
The minister warned those invading grazing land that they would be weeded out.
“I need to emphasise that settlement on areas designated for grazing is illegal,” he said.
“The ministry is aware, again, of some rogue elements who sell land and have resorted to parcelling out grazing land to unsuspecting members of the public.
“This deal may have been done quietly between two people but soon names of those duped people will be known once issuance of permits to those found to be settled on grazing land is denied.”
Mombeshora warned that illegal timber plantation settlers also face eviction.
“The ministry of Lands and Rural Settlement would like to make it clear that no one is allowed to settle on any piece of land without lawful authority from the ministry,” he said. “Any such settlement is therefore illegal.
“Those who continue to settle on timber plantations must heed this warning. The ministry has a list of those farms illegally settled and has documented evidence of people cutting down and harvesting timber which they do not own, for sale. We are cooperating with the office of the minister of State for Manicaland province to ensure that normalcy returns to the areas affected mainly in Chimanimani, Vumba and Nyanga.”
The minister said the new land permits will be issued by the district lands officer and not the district administrator, who used to issue offer letters.
Mombeshora warned farmers to be wary of “unscrupulous people” selling permit application forms, when they are for free.
He said 2 000 A1 model permits will be issued by the end of the year.
President Robert Mugabe launched the A1 settlement permits a fortnight ago, to ensure that farmers have security of tenure and that permits can be used as collateral.
Mombeshora said he would introduce farm rental charges before the end of August.
“We are not proposing any levies but we are proposing rentals,” he said. “If you don’t want to pay the rent you simply leave the farm. We have consulted with (Local Government minister Ignatius) Chombo and made recommendations. We will present them to Cabinet in the next two weeks. It is my hope that by the end of August, we will begin charging the rentals.”