By Staff Reporter
AGRICULTURE Minister Anxious Masuka has revealed plans to evict all those living illegally on state land that includes areas reserved for agriculture.
The move follows catastrophic incidences of flooding and drowning recorded on illegal settlements in the south of the capital Harare since rains started pounding Zimbabwe.
59 houses in Kuwadzana’s Paddock area and Budiriro 5B were left uninhabitable by heavy rains that burst the banks of Marimba River.
Most of the affected area is dominated by corporatives that have for long survived on selling state land on the pretext it will be regularised, serviced and will be granted title deeds.
All this is being done by ‘land barons,’ some of whom have been confirmed to be Zanu PF officials and party members.
“Government has noted, with concern, the increased number of illegal settlers on agricultural land,” said Masuka in a statement dated 23 November but released on Wednesday.
“Government will not regularise those that settle themselves on state land without procedurally issued tenure documents. The full wrath of the law will be applied in such cases of illegal settlements.
“Those found occupying state land without authority will be prosecuted.”
Poor town planning and disregard for changing demographics in urban settlements have combined to dismantle what was once a working urban planning mechanism.
Unsanctioned or illegal settlements have continued to crop up, especially in Harare where the population is already above available social services.
These have been seen in Epworth, Chitungwiza, Mabvuku, Ushewokunze and other areas in Harare South.
The illegal settlements are neither serviced for water, sewer reticulation, electricity supply or roads but inhabited.
Said Zanu PF Spokesperson Patrick Chinamasa in December: “Zanu PF is alarmed at the mushrooming and proliferation of illegal occupations and settlements on communal, local authority and State land in and around major towns and cities, rural service centres and growth points, and perpetrated by land barons, some of who are masquerading as Zanu PF supporters and, through use of name dropping, falsely suggest that their illegal activities have the authority and blessings of Zanu PF.
“Yet other land barons are using doctored and falsified documents as one of the strategies to mislead innocent stand buyers to part with their hard-earned cash.
“Zanu PF demands that all illegal land occupations, illegal sale or parcelling out of land or stands and illegal land developments should stop forthwith and calls upon law enforcement agencies to enforce the law and bring any perpetrators to book.”