'We won't tolerate fresh land grabs… we want total stability on farms,' Zim govt says

2017-12-25 11:01
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Harare – The Zimbabwean government has reportedly said that it would not tolerate any fresh farm gabs, adding that "the law would come hard on those who seek to disrupt farming activities by legally resettled people".

According to the state-owned Herald newspaper, Agriculture, Lands and Resettlement Minister Perrance Shiri said last week that the government was pushing for the issuance of 99-year leases.

"We realise as the ministry of lands, agriculture and resettlement that for all our aspirations to be realised we need total stability on the farms and to that effect we shall ensure that (illegal) farm occupations will not be tolerated anymore. Offer letters should be respected. The process of issuance of 99-year leases shall be expedited to allow long-term planning by the farmers and to also allow them to access funding," Shiri was quoted as saying.

Shiri's remarks came a few days after a white Zimbabwean farmer forced from his land as part of controversial mass evictions became the first to return to his property under a new government bid to reverse illegal land seizures.

Evicted at gunpoint 

Robert Smart, 71, was thrown off his tobacco and corn farm in eastern Zimbabwe in June as part of chaotic and often violent land grabs led by ex-president Robert Mugabe's government.

Smart said he and his family were evicted at gunpoint "with whatever we had on our backs at the moment" to make way for a cleric close to Mugabe.

But last month the 93-year-old ruler was ousted following a military takeover after more than three decades in power.

The government of his successor Emmerson Mnangagwa in early December ordered people illegally occupying formerly white-owned commercial farms to vacate.

Many people had illegally taken over farms cashing in on the land reforms.

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