Zimbabwe’s Land Reform remains irreversible with Government efforts now focused on improving agricultural productivity, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said last night in a post-Cabinet media briefing.
Her remarks followed a joint Press conference by Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement Minister Dr Anxious Masuka and his Finance and Economic Development counterpart Professor Mthuli Ncube.
The two were clarifying the recent Global Compensation Deed between Government and white former commercial farmers which deals with constitutionally-required compensation for improvements made by the previous owners.
“There is absolutely nothing that should be misinterpreted from this agreement. It’s very clear. It’s not a form of land reform reversal. What Zimbabwe now want is agricultural productivity that’s what we want,” Minister Mutsvangwa said.
“So going forward the Government’s priority in agriculture is to increase production and productivity through the collaborative efforts of all Zimbabweans. This include skills transfer from the former owners to the resettled farmers and the provision of an attractive land tenure system that will be supportive of increased levels of investment on our farms.”
In his Monday briefing, Minister Ncube clarified the security of tenure for former farm owners still on the land, indigenous farmers and those that farms covered by Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements and were affected during the Land Reform programme that redressed colonial land imbalances.
Former farm owners on compulsorily acquired land should urgently regularise their tenure through designated Government institutions before consideration could be made for the issuance of 99-year leases.
Those who had already gone through the processes, like any Zimbabwean, and who already held offer letters could proceed to apply for 99-year leases.
Farm owners who are indigenous Zimbabweans or citizens of countries which had ratified investment agreements or bilateral investment treaties with Zimbabwe at the time their land was compulsorily acquired for resettlement are entitled to compensation for both land and improvements.
Minister Mutsvangwa said the compensation of improvements on the farms was provided for in the Constitution which was endorsed in 2013 and all Government was doing was implementing the provisions.–herald.l.zw