Government will not return land to the white former commercial farmers but only to the indigenous farmers and those that were under the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPPA) who were affected during the land reform, Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement Minister Perrance Shiri has said.
Minister Shiri was explaining the Statutory Instrument 62 of 2020 which was recently gazetted.
The SI had brought misconceptions and misinterpretations with some people insisting that Government was giving land back to the white former commercial farmers.
Clarifying the SI at his Ngungunyana offices this afternoon, Minister Perrance Shiri said the land reform was irreversible.
“The Land Reform Programme is final and irreversible. Any sentiments to the contrary are false and are to be dismissed with the contempt they deserve.
“It is false to say that there is an intention to return land to the previous white commercial farmers and reverse the gains of the land reform. It is equally false to state that the SI is designed to evade paying compensation to indigenous farmers rather it creates an avenue for these farmers to exercise that option to acquire title and continue with farming activities or opt for compensation.
“The development of the Statutory instrument in question was guided by constitutional provisions:
“Section 72 which provides for the rights to agricultural land and the vesting of all agriculture land in the State, section 289 which provides the guiding policy on agricultural land, section 290 which provides for the continued vesting of agricultural land in the State, section 293 which provides for the alienation of land by state including the alienation for value, transfer of ownership and lease of agricultural land and section 295 which provides for the compensation of indigenous Zimbabweans whose agricultural land was acquired and person whose agricultural land was protected by a Government to Government agreement at the time of acquisition,” he said.
A committee will be put in place to deal with all applications for compensation and considerations will be made in line with the SI.