Illegal settlers given ultimatum
THE Government has given squatters nine days to vacate illegal rural settlements or risk being evicted and prosecuted.
In a statement yesterday, the Minister of Lands and Rural Resettlement Dr Douglas Mombeshora, said anyone who occupied land without an offer letter from his ministry or district lands committees in various parts of the country should move out immediately.
“This notice therefore serves to inform all illegal settled people to immediately vacate rural state land i.e. the resettled farms and return to their original homes by September 6, 2016. Failure to do so will result in immediate eviction and prosecution,” said Dr Mombeshora.
He said illegal settlements were negatively affecting the environment.
“Given the elaborate and carefully considered planning undertaken in resettlement areas that took into account ecological as well as issues of viability, Government will not tolerate illegal settlements that have mushroomed in undesignated areas including grazing and catchment areas of dams and rivers,” he said.
It is illegal for any person to occupy rural land without an official temporary permit issued by the District Lands Committee, an offer letter or permission of the Ministry of Minister of Lands and Rural Resettlement.
The Ministry’s warning comes following several incidents of illegal parcelling out of land by traditional leaders and councillors in some local authorities.
In Umguza’s Ward 13 villagers are at loggerheads with the area’s councillor Cde Earnest Sibanda, and a headman, who they accused of illegally settling people on their grazing land.
The villagers reported the matter to Chief Deli who has written a letter to the community leaders ordering them to stop illegal resettlements. In a letter dated August 12, Chief Deli said: “I’d be happy if this letter finds you well. I’m writing this letter to inform you to stop troubling villagers. Remove those people that you’ve settled in the people’s places. You’d rather settle them where there are no people. You should have an understanding with villagers before making settlements.”
The Chronicle spoke to Chief Deli for further clarification and he confirmed writing the letter saying he has ordered villagers to “chase away” the illegal settlers.
A comment could not be obtained from Cde Sibanda as his cell phone was not reachable but the headman, a Mr Tshakalisa denied being involved in the illegal land allocation. — @nqotshili
Dr Douglas Mombeshora