Land Com­mis­sion Bill to ad­dress dis­putes, chal­lenges

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Pamela Shumba Se­nior Reporter

THE Land Com­mis­sion Bill will go a long way in ad­dress­ing dis­putes and chal­lenges em­a­nat­ing from the land re­form pro­gramme, the Min­is­ter of Lands and Ru­ral Re­set­tle­ment, Dou­glas Mombeshora, has said.

Min­is­ter Mombeshora said al­though the coun­try’s land re­form pro­gramme re­dressed his­tor­i­cal im­bal­ances, the ex­er­cise re­sulted in a num­ber of chal­lenges that need to be ad­dressed.

He said the chal­lenges in­clude bound­ary dis­putes, dou­ble al­lo­ca­tions, oc­cu­pa­tions with­out of­fer let­ters, forged of­fer let­ters, set­tlers be­ing de­nied ac­cess to their plots, shar­ing of in­fra­struc­ture, com­pen­sa­tion of for­mer farm­ers, un­der-util­i­sa­tion of land as well as van­dal­ism and theft of equip­ment.

The Min­is­ter said the Land Com­mis­sion Bill em­pow­ers the Com­mis­sion to con­duct com­pre­hen­sive in­spec­tions and au­dits of agri­cul­tural land.

He said the pro­posed law would also en­able the Land Com­mis­sion to carry out its func­tions ef­fi­ciently, ef­fec­tively and im­par­tially as en­vis­aged by the Con­sti­tu­tion.

“Such a mas­sive ex­er­cise achieved in a rel­a­tively short pe­riod of time re­sulted in a num­ber of ad­min­is­tra­tive is­sues like bound­ary dis­putes, dou­ble al­lo­ca­tion and in­fra­struc­ture shar­ing prob­lems among oth­ers which need to be ad­dressed holis­ti­cally, hence the es­tab­lish­ment of the Land Com­mis­sion Bill through Sec­tion 296 of the Con­sti­tu­tion,” said Min­is­ter Mombeshora in Par­lia­ment on Tues­day dur­ing the Bill’s sec­ond read­ing.

He said al­though Zim­babwe’s land re­form pro­gramme was the big­gest in Africa, huge prob­lems re­main.

“About 6 000 white farm­ers have been re­placed by 245 000 in­dige­nous farm­ers and most of them are farm­ing. The area of land re­dis­tri­bu­tion to date stands at 12,6 mil­lion hectares.

They have raised their own stan­dard of liv­ing and have reached pro­duc­tion lev­els of the for­mer white farm­ers and with a bit of sup­port they are ready to sub­stan­tially in­crease that pro­duc­tion,” Min­is­ter Mombeshora said.

He said the Bill was a mile­stone which seeks to re­peal two colo­nial-era pieces of land set­tle­ment and ten­ure leg­is­la­tion, the Ru­ral Land Act and the Agri­cul­tural Land Set­tle­ment Act which were en­acted in 1963 and 1969.

“In terms of the leg­isla­tive back­ground to this Bill, it is the first sig­nif­i­cant leg­isla­tive in­ter­ven­tion in the sphere of land re­form and land ten­ure since the Land Ac­qui­si­tion Act of 1992 and the var­i­ous amend­ments to that Act (the last of which was in 2002),” said Min­is­ter Mombeshora. — @pame­lashumba1

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