Zimbabwe yesterday debunked claims that it was reversing its land reform programme by giving back land to white former farmers with government spokesman Nick Mangwana saying the number of farms that might be given back to white farmers might not exceed 22.
Lands Minister Anxious Masuka said white former farmers already on the land who need their occupation to be regularized are only 294.
Only two groups, whose land was compulsorily acquired, are going to be given back their land- indigenous black Zimbabweans and white farmers whose land was under bilateral agreements and treaties.
Masuka said only 3.2 percent of the 18 600 farms that were allocated under the commercial scheme were affected. This translates to about 600 farms.
He said there was no confusion at all about who was going to get back their lad and who was not.
“There is no confusion because the Constitution of Zimbabwe is very clear, Section 295 subsection 1 and subsection 2 that we have an obligation to compensate for land and improvements for indigenous Zimbabweans who constitute only 1.3 percent of the 18 600 farmers that were allocated land,” Masuka said.
“We also have an obligation under the Constitution, to consider the BIPPAS and Bilateral Investment Treaty and those constitute just under one percent of the 18 600 beneficiaries. Those fall in the category that the SI 62 of 2020 clearly explains.
“When an application is lodged with the minister, there is consideration whether in the public interest and security of the country there is merit in doing so. Where it is no longer possible then compensation is offered.”
Mangwana said farms under BIPPA were less than 37.
“Just for the record, it is less than 37 farms. This is not a new thing. A good amount of compensation has already been paid for most of these farms that the actual number which may be restored will not surpass 22,” he said.
On white farmers still on the land, Masuka said those who are still on the farms but had not regularised, should immediately approach the relevant government offices around the country to lodge their applications.
“This indicates that the land reform programme is irreversible. So those that are there ought to follow the law because the land is vested in the State and that category of farmers is 294 and again about one percent of the 18 600. Altogether the numbers that we are looking at addressing, redressing for the clarity we gave on Monday affects a mere 3.2 percent of the beneficiaries,” he said.
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