Bubi RDC to withdraw unused land claims

HARARE - Land owners in Bubi Rural District Council could lose unused land  to the local authority, which is seeking to fully utilise idle land as part of its turnaround drive, a new by-law showed yesterday.

The by-laws, which govern both communal and resettlement land, will see stringent measures being taken against land users not fully utilising land.

“A resettlement holding, whether residential, business or arable, shall be declared vacant if it is left idle for a period of 12 continuous months, unless the council has been advised and agreed on that agreement,” reads part of the by-law.

The by-law also states that business persons in resettlement areas should develop their stands and structure and start trading within 12 months of being allocated the land.

Bubi RDC’s notice comes as very little production has been conducted on the farms with most of them lying idle.            

Last year, former lands minister Douglas Mombeshora issued several notices to withdraw offer letters given to individuals under the land redistribution programme.

Mombeshora had argued that the resettled farmers were not using the land productively after they had been resettled.

“Notice is hereby given to land beneficiaries…that the acquiring authority intends to withdraw their offer letter for not taking up their plots in contravention of the terms and conditions of their offer letters.

“Beneficiaries should respond to this notice within 14 working days,” read the notice.

In 2000 former President Robert Mugabe’s land reforms led to nearly 4 500 white farmers being evicted from their land by his supporters and war veterans.

More than a dozen farmers have been killed in the past 17 years of land invasions with clashes between the farmers and supporters often violent.

The new occupants, mainly war vets, lack basic farming skills and can barely support the farming enterprise let alone make ends meet.

Their agricultural output is a fraction of the level seen before 2000, when deposed president Robert Mugabe — saying he sought to right colonial wrongs — grabbed land from experienced white farmers.

Apart from basic farming acumen, the new occupants were also affected by a stagnating economy that has seen banks reluctant to lend, undermining their businesses.


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