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to deal with illegal land occupiers
September 20, 2006
GOVERNMENT has introduced
a new law to deal with illegal farm invaders and farmers refusing
to make way for those that have been given offer letters.
Land (Consequential Provisions) Bill —which seeks to make
it an offence to occupy or continue occupying gazetted land without
lawful authority — yesterday sailed through the House of Assembly
It now awaits transmission
to the Senate for consideration.
The Bill validates
all offer letters issued by the Ministry of National Security, Lands,
Land Reform and Resettlement and provides for compensation for improvements
made on acquired farms in line with the Land
In his seconding reading
speech, the Minister of State for National Security, Lands, Land
Reform and Resettlement, Cde Didymus Mutasa, told the House of Assembly
that the Bill was intended to deal with the continued occupation
of gazetted land without lawful authority.
"The Bill seeks
to make it punishable by law to hold, use or occupy a piece of land
that was gazetted for resettlement purposes without lawful authority
in the form of an offer letter," he said.
The ministry, Cde Mutasa
said, was having problems of evicting white former commercial farmers
who continued to utilise the land after the prescribed 90 days'
This had made it difficult
for new farmers issued with offer letters to move onto the acquired
farms and engage in operations.
"In order to deter
the continued illegal occupation of land after the expiry of the
prescribed 90 days' notice to vacate, offenders will be given
a sentence not exceeding seven days and would be evicted from the
"The Bill also addresses
the issue of unlawful fresh farm occupations," Cde Mutasa said.
The proposed law also
seeks to repeal the Rural Land Occupiers (Protection from Eviction)
Act that allowed and protected everyone who was occupying land without
an offer letter.
"It protected our
people from harassment and possible evictions by former white farmers,
but the situation has since been regularised through the issuance
of offer letters to all those on State land.
"No one will now
claim protection under this law."
A total of 231 251 families
under model A1 (communal and small-scale) and A2 (large-scale) have
been resettled on 10 662 162 hectares. Turning to the issue of 99-year
leases, Cde Mutasa said the Agricultural Land Resettlement Board
had inspected 96 A2 farms and those who qualified would be issued
with the leases soon.
would start issuing lease application forms to farmers who had a
minimum of three years' production.
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