The seven-member Commission of Inquiry into the sale of urban land which was sworn in at the beginning of this month will begin its hearings on Monday, 19 February.
The commission is headed by Justice Tendai Uchena and is expected to complete its work within 12 months.
Its terms of reference are:
- To investigate and identify all State land in and around urban areas that was acquired and allocated to the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing for urban development since 2005;
- To investigate and ascertain the status of such land in terms of ownership, occupation and development; (c) to investigate methods of acquisition and/or allocation by current occupants and owners of such land;
- To investigate and ascertain the actors involved in allocations, occupation and use of such land;
- To conduct visitations where necessary, summon witnesses, record proceedings, minute testimonies and document, consider and manage all information gathered in order to arrive at appropriate findings and recommendations to the President;
- To investigate any other matter, which the Commission of Inquiry may deem appropriate and relevant to the inquiry; to report to the President in writing, the result of the inquiry.
Land barons, some of whom were senior Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front officials had turned into land barons and were allocating land haphazardly including in wetlands and areas reserved for churches or recreation.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa says his administration is going to carry out the long overdue land audit and will repossess farms from those with more than one and downsize those that are too big.
It is also going to issue 99-year leases regardless of colour, instead of offer letters which were subject to the whims of the Lands Minister.