VICE President Constantino Chiwenga has called on law enforcement agents to bring to book all those behind illegal parcelling of land in urban and rural areas.
Some individuals, especially in Mutare, have taken it upon themselves to parcel out land to desperate home-seekers in Gimboki area of Dangamvura where an illegal settlement is sprouting.
The individuals have been parcelling out unserviced land, with reports indicating that some of them have set up offices in Mutare Central Business District where they are ripping off desperate people by charging them for the same stands which they purport to be distributing free of charge.
Some desperate land seekers have already moved to construct structures on the land which Mutare City Council said was designated for educational facilities and not meant for residential purposes.
Speaking at Domborutinhira Secondary School during the National Tree Planting Day as well as the launch of the 2023-2024 tree planting season, Vice President Chiwenga — who was representing President Mnangagwa — said all illegal land parcelling should be nipped in the bud.
“The elections season is now safely behind us and it is now time for nation building and development. We know that our people need land, both in rural and urban areas, but this should be done in a planned way. Plans are in place to ensure that the majority of people have access to land.
“In rural communities, we have village heads, headmen, chiefs, councillors and District Development Coordinators who are responsible for the proper resettlement of people. In urban areas, we do not want people who invade land and allocate residential stands there. What would make onethink that the land was deliberately left to lay idle? We cannot allow lawlessness to prevail. We are calling upon law enforcement agents in the Joint Operation Committee (JOC), especially the police, to descend on all the bad apples and bring them to book,” said Vice President Chiwenga.
He added: “We want proper urban planning where we will build high rise buildings and not to have hap-hazard settlements. We should also not convert agricultural land into residential areas as this threatens national food security.”
Later addressing Zanu PF supporters who had gathered to see him off to Harare at Mutare Aerodrome on the same day, Vice President Chiwenga reiterated Government’s stance against unplanned urban settlements.
“We are saying no to those allocating residential on wetlands, near river banks and unplanned settlements. All those who were grabbing land and distributing stands through name dropping of the party leadership should stop forthwith. We want disciplined cadres in Zanu PF. Zanu PF is known as a disciplined party,” said Vice President Chiwenga.
Earlier on in his welcome remarks at Domborutinhira, Minister of State for Manicaland Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Advocate Misheck Mugadza, also spoke against illegal land occupations, both in rural and urban areas.
“We want to thank the Zanu PF Government for the land redistribution programme, but we still have many landless people looking forward to be allocated land. We also have many people in urban settlements in need of land.
“Despite assurances from President Mnangagwa and the entire presidium that land will be availed for residential stands, we are encountering challenges where some individuals are illegally grabbing and distributing residential stands in unplanned settlements. I am asking the Acting President to address this issue and give us proper guidance. All those spearheading this should stop as this tarnishes the image of the party, Government and country at large,” said Minister Mugadza.
Mutare City Council has since warned against the illegal allocation of stands in Gimboki.
In a statement, the local authority stated: “Notice is hereby given to City of Mutare customers, residents, and stakeholders to be on the look-out for individuals engaging in fraudulent land allocation in the Gimboki area. This notice is being issued in the public interest, in order to protect and safeguard the public against such fraudulent activities.
“Council would like to inform customers, residents and stakeholders that the land in question has not been transferred to any organisation or individual. Council has not engaged any third party or agent to dispose of the land on its behalf. The land in question is designated for education facilities, and is not meant for residential purposes. No change of use has been effected or will be effected on the piece of land.
“Individual home seekers stand to lose out should they buy land from these individuals who are masquerading as authority to parcel out land illegally. Where council resolves to sale, lease or donate land, it shall advertise its intentions to do so in terms of Section 152 of the Urban Council’s Act, Chapter 29:15.”