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Proposed law on land awaits third reading
The Herald (Zimbabwe)
October 06, 2006

THE Gazetted Land (Consequential Provisions) Bill, which seeks to punish illegal farm invaders, passed through the second reading and committee stages of Senate without amendments yesterday.

The Bill now awaits its third reading.

Contributing to the debate during its committee stage, Non Constituency Senator Aguy Clement Georgias expressed concern at section 6 of the Bill, which seeks to validate offer letters issued to farmers by the State.

Sen Georgias was concerned on what would become of those farmers whose offer letters would have been withdrawn yet they could have borrowed money from financial institutions.

He said there were instances of more than two people with offer letters on one farm and noted that there could be some problems if the personís offer letter is withdrawn when he happened to have got a loan from financial institutions.

Lobengula-Magwegwe Senator Mr Thabiso Ndlovu also expressed the same concern on the implication of the same section, asking what would become of double allocation on one farm.

But the Minister of State for Indigenisation and Empowerment, Cde Samuel Mumbengegwi, who is also leader of the Senate, said situations of double allocation would be dealt with administratively by the relevant ministry.

"The minister will look into the matter and establish who is the legal owner.

"The section does not preclude the minister from withdrawing an offer letter," said Cde Mumbengegwi who was steering the Bill in place of the Minister of State for National Security, Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement, Cde Didymus Mutasa.

The Bill seeks to punish all farm occupiers who continue to hold or utilise land without lawful authority in the form of an offer letter.

It also provides for compensation for improvements effected before the acquisition of the property and repeals the Rural Land Occupiers (Protection from Eviction) Act.

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