13 February 2014

Zimbabwe: Demand for Land Still High-Mombeshora

The demand for land for resettlement continues to rise, with the waiting list registering more than 500 000 people for both A1 and A2 models to date as applications continue to pour in, a Cabinet Minister has said.

Addressing officers taking Joint Command Staff Course Number 27 at the Staff College in Harare on challenges affecting land and rural resettlement on Wednesday, Lands and Rural Resettlement Minister Dr Douglas Mombeshora said communal areas remained overcrowded.

Dr Mombeshora said there was urgent need for strategic land relocations to allow for important projects such as dams, diamond mines and tourism activities.

"Important examples are Tokwe-Mukosi Dam, Kunzvi Dam, and Murowa and Chiadzwa diamond sites," he said.

Dr Mombeshora bemoaned illegal settlements on farms, conservancies and national parks.

He said the Chitsa people living in Gonarezhou National Park in Masvingo province needed land to be properly settled.

Dr Mombeshora said they were serious about ensuring the success of the land reform programme.

"The ministry is mandated with providing security of tenure to all land beneficiaries," he said. "We have been giving model A2 farmers 99-year leases and we are working on making them bankable."

Dr Mombeshora said they were working on land settlement permits for A1 farmers as part of a proposed National Land Policy. This would be part of dispute resolution mechanisms.

"The ministry will put in place the Zimbabwe Land Commission as required by the new Constitution to assist in land administration," said Dr Mombeshora.

He said one of the key challenges affecting production in resettlement areas was limited financial support for beneficiaries by both financial institutions and Government.

Major land disputes are double allocations, boundaries, infrastructure ownership and/or sharing, inheritances, divorces and illegal settlements.

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