A MATABELELAND SOUTH government lands provincial committee last year illegally allocated the Mopane Port Farm in Matobo to several people, according to Lands minister Douglas Mombeshora.
He said procedures were not followed according to laws governing the acquisition of farms when the provincial lands committee allocated the farm to the landless.
He told the National Assembly on Wednesday that provincial lands committee was instead supposed to apply to the government to gazette the farm for acquisition and get authority before parcelling it to the settlers,” Mombeshora said.
“Let me start by saying that it would not have been proper for people to be resettled on a farm that had not been gazetted, so it means what was done was not procedural.”
“We urge people when the land committee is allocating land in provinces, to carry out due diligence and find out who owns the farm because as the State, we want to resettle people on State land.”
He was responding to a question by Zanu PF MP Rossy Mpofu on why the government was taking long to legalise the occupation of the farm. Mpofu said this was because the land was given to the people by the district lands committee in Matobo and approved by the higher provincial office last year and documentation sent to the Lands ministry.
Mombeshora said the district and provincial lands committees wrongfully allocated people the farm because they were first supposed to write to his ministry requesting it to be gazetted for acquisition.
“We look at the documentation that they would have been submitted, look at the titles and also carry a physical check at the deeds office and upon being satisfied that the farm belongs to a particular individual and that the documentation that they have is genuine, we then initiate the process of taking over the farm,” he said.
“In terms of the law, we should gazette our intention to take the land in the Government Gazette.
“We give parties concerned time to object. If there is no objection, the matter is then finalised by the courts.
“We hope that people have also heard the issue that you just raised and have learnt that if it is not properly done, it sets us back in doing our work.”