Minister Larry Mavima
Government has issued 500 eviction letters to flush out people who illegally resettled themselves on commercial farms thereby disrupting production and causing massive land degradation in the Midlands province.
In an interview yesterday, Midlands Provincial Agricultural Technical and Extension Services (Agritex) officer Mrs Madeline Magwenzi said Government had given illegal settlers seven days to vacate the farms they illegally occupied.
“We have started this exercise of flushing out illegal settlers across the Midlands province and we have issued 500 eviction letters. We want to bring normalcy to these farms whose production has been adversely affected by these illegal settlers who are also causing land degradation,” she said.
In Chemagora area, Gokwe South, where a farm owner was brutally murdered by angry illegal settlers at his farm after he allegedly shot dead one of them while attempting to evict them, several illegal settlers were also served with eviction notices.
Mr Dumapi Tutani who is the Chemagora Small Scale Commercial Farmers’ Union chairperson, said the move to evict the illegal settlers had brought joy and relief to farm owners who have been fighting the illegal settlers for years.
“This exercise is being carried out by the Ministry of Lands and they are being complemented by various other Government departments including the police and the DA’s office. As of yesterday four of the 24 invaded farms had been covered, though we think that the team on the ground could do much better if they were availed more resources like more vehicles so that they could cover the whole ward in a short period of time,” he said.
Meanwhile, Midlands Provincial Affairs Minister Larry Mavima said Government tasked the Land Commission to assess farms that exceed the recommended sizes and those that were being underutilised which will be parcelled out to people in need of land.
Midlands Provincial Lands Committee has recommended downsizing of more than 50 farms and the extra land from these farms will be allocated to those in need of land.
Minister Mavima said the province was still grappling with illegal settlers, some of whom have settled on State land for close to 20 years.Chronicle