New A1 farmers permits illegal, says Cross

By | May 27, 2014

via New A1 farmers permits illegal, says Cross | SW Radio Africa by Mthulisi Mathuthu on Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Economist Eddie Cross has said until compensation is paid the government has got ‘no legal right’ to issue any form of security or title rights to anybody occupying seized farmland.

The MDC-T legislator was reacting to reports that government will, starting from next month, issue A1 farmers with new permits that govern the use of the land. Government claims that the permits will endorse the farmers’ security of tenure and will bring sanity to its land grab programme.

Lands and rural resettlement minister Douglas Mombeshora said the offer letters that the farmers were using were ineffective as they were ‘not detailed’ and the process of obtaining one was confusing.

He said the new permit, which will be signed by both the owner and the spouse, gives guidelines on the inheritance of the farm if the owner dies. He also claimed that ‘the permit is just the same as the 99-year lease and it works as a title deed for the land.’

But Cross said: ‘The reality is that the government doesn’t have the legal right to do that. People don’t understand that until compensation is paid to the original owners they cannot take title to the properties.’

He added: ‘That is the problem confronting the government and until they resolve that problem they are not free to do what they want in as far as conferring title rights is concerned.’

Cross’s comments come at a time when large scale farmers are struggling to obtain loans from the banks who view them as risky business because they don’t have title deeds, legal documents that give them ownership of the land.
Government handed out some 99 year leases to the large scale farmers also known as A2 farmers but these leases have not been of any help as they show that the land belongs to the state leading to the banks’ refusal to lend to people with no collateral to back up to the loan.

The farmers’ problem was made worse when in February the government, which had been supporting them with inputs and equipment for a decade, abandoned them saying they should ‘kneel’ before the same banks.

The A1 and A2 farmers are beneficiaries of the ZANU PF government’s land grab exercise. Land was seized and parceled out to various individuals, without anyone buying or paying compensation for the land. This means the title deeds remained with the original owners of the farms.


35 thoughts on “New A1 farmers permits illegal, says Cross

  1. andy

    Since when has this illegal government worried about complying with the law?

    1. Cde Chooks

      Very good point Andy! Eddie says that the Government is not free to do what it wants. Where, we must wonder, has he been hiding for the past 14 years. Silly old bugger…

  2. tinodaro

    Minda tingaida, tose tinoda minda asi azvinyatsofadza kuita zvinorwadisa kudaro inga tine mwoyo unorwadziwa wani sei tichiita se mhuka inobvambura imwe ichirwadziwa iyo ichinakirwa we know there is something needed to be redressed we all agree but what if we can do it properly tinobvei ngativabhadherei vanyare tivaratidze kuti tinofunawo vamwe we have got sense of humor

  3. Saddened

    A major is that the banks aren’t prepared to lend to A1 farmers because they don’t have title to the land they occupy. There are sufficient legal instruments to protect the owner of any property i.e. 99 year lease or freehold title. The question remains whether the banks will accept the ‘new permit’. Highly unlikely in my opinion. Only people with a skewed agenda would come up with a permit system. In my understanding a permit as the word implies gives you permission to do something in this case ‘farm’ so how can they refer to the occupants as the ‘owners’?

  4. tinodaro

    that is true if bank wont accept those permit it doesn’t work farmers cannot produce without support from the financial istitutins

  5. wenharo

    Come on guys who is the original owner here?Pavakapamba ivhu redu did they compansate our great grandfathers A BIG NO

    1. John Thomas

      This is the thinking that got us to where we are now.

      1. timba

        Ndimi makazvitanga. Saka murikuchemei. Handiti munozviti ma champions of democracy and excellence. Mchinyanya kudziirwa

    2. Jrr56

      Immature comments like these with no thought behind them are indicative of Zimbabwean mentality. It is the same as all these government ministers who think they have something clever to say, have a laugh and slap each other on the back commenting how clever they are and how they showed their bravado. When it all backfires on them they will blame all and sundry for their own stupidity. Zimbabweans elected these buffoons and still believe in them as does this poster

  6. Bambabzonke

    Zonke ena mushi but ena acina right . If the banks LEND money to the A1 then Iam Gona borrow hobo to buy my Benz and not repay . Wake up who the garrentee , government they haven’t got money to pay to civil servants !!!!

  7. Johann

    What the new land occupiers don’t yet realize is that they don’t own anything because the gov’t has nationalized the land.
    Now If the bank can’t auction the property to get its loan back from the permit owner because the land has actually been nationalized then how is the bank going to recoup the loan if the borrower doesn’t have collateral?
    This is the very same reason why the communal lands are so denuded and infertile and not the lie that it is because black people were settled on infertile soils.
    Mr Cross is correct in his assertion that until the title deeds are swapped in exchange for compensation and the new occupiers are given the title deeds then the commercial farming areas will begin to look like the communal lands in a few years because the new occupiers will have only one option and that will be to exploit as much out of the land without being able to invest in it for fear of losing their investment in the same way as the commercial farmers did and the communal farmers do if they fall out of favour with the Zanu Chefs and chiefs.

    1. Owen

      this is it. Collateral means the banks can get something – the farm land – if the the farmer defaults. without collateral, banks will not make loans. without loans, farming is stuck in a very slow place.

    2. Ngoto Zimbwa

      I can post you a lecture by one representative from the Ministry of Lands and Mines in 1970 to us at UR, where he stated that “….90% of the fertile land is white owned….”.

      Please don’t post sanitised facts about life for blacks in Rhodesia.

      1. MikeH

        “90% of the fertile land is white owned” …. yep! and just look at what the land produced in the 1970s compared with today. No hunger in those days A! No unemployment in those days A!

        1. Ngoto Zimbwa

          Quite true, production was great.
          As for hunger, there was a hunger for some equality in sharing by the majority.
          Saddly, disdainfully spurned by the minority.
          Making us all losers today.

  8. John Thomas

    In this world there is no successful country doing what Zimbabwe is doing. You cannot build an economy on theft and lawlessness. This issue of who owned the land in the first place is childish.
    Title deeds are the basis of a prosperous market economy. It makes no difference if disagree with this, the fact is the fact.

    1. timba

      Theft?? Funny how pirates like to cry fowl when they don’t get their own way…..

    2. andy marongwe

      So if you steal my car ,refurbish it and then go to the DMV OR Ministry of Transport and get a title to it ,it is no longer stolen property is that so.Gentlemen do not waste our time here by engaging in happy talk ,be serious for this is what got us to where we are for we are being untruthful.Land was stolen from blacks by whites and the white government of the day gave title deeds to stolen land.

  9. Mlimo

    Zanupf have run out of toilet paper for their thieving farmers so now theyre printing A1 permits. Guess what the A stands for and guess what the one stands for. Not worth the paper theyre written on, when we change the govt these will be useless if theyre still around.

  10. Hlaba lungene

    Standard Chartered may be leaving Zimbabwe because of this illegal government which lost its direction a long time ago. There is nothing that Zanu can correct. They only way to get things right is for them to resign.

  11. Kevin Watson

    Mr Cross you are quite correct in your legal assessment. In Zimbabwe that is meaningless as the Government does not adhere to the rule of law, nor does it abide by or comply with court orders it doesn’t like and this is after filling the judiciary with its lackeys and cronies. What stops the banks from lending to these farmers is “International Law”. The owner of the farm holding the title deeds can sue in a foreign court for damages arising out of the banks assistance to the illegal occupier. Now the ZANU PF’s move to steal the banks and drive out their foreign shareholders is clear.

  12. Funganayi Mutamiri (UK)

    The good thing is we are debating this.We agree here that something must be done to redress the historical in balance.The government is saying it is willing to compensate the title deed owners(old farmers) but has no money.It is saying a fund must be set up by donor through UNDP to compensate the white farmers blacks are not prepared to pay for the land but developments.The white farmer needs to be compensated for legality and every one seems to agree on this one.The born of contagion or the rigid point is that the government is not going to compensate for the land but developments and it is vowing not to move on this one.So these are the two positions which both parties feel very strongly about and they are both justified supporting their positions with strong evidence. Once compensation has been successfully made its easy to give the new farmers title deeds The government can recover some money through stamp duties and registration fees to be paid by the new owners I would suggest.Once that is achieved banks can come in and lend against this established collateral. Hopefully a solution will be found and must be found.

  13. Saddened

    What must not be forgotten is that even if the ‘ownership’ issue is settled we will still have the problem of low production. Land utilisation is at very low levels resulting in us being unable to feed ourselves so what is the point of possession when you don’t know how to utilise it? Let’s get our priorities right and do what benefits all of us. No farmers no future continues to ring in my ears.

  14. Daniel

    Most of the comments make sense and we know what has to be done to rectify the situation. To now say they havnt got the money is just bollocks,they should have thought of that before starting the land grab.Wenhara just keep quiet and go back to sleep.You are an idiot.

  15. Reader

    The land is owned by the title deed holders, no question.

    Somehow this was paid for by the holder of the DEED whether by cash payment, bank purchase, or by who ever owned/sold the land and the DEED was legally transferred.

    Through GREED the land was sold to the whites by blacks, no matter if it was for shiny things a couple of hundred years ago. Since then it was developed lovingly by the owners that turned it into a profit that benefitted all in Zimbabwe.
    Just Imagine the house you OWN that you have paid for, that you have the DEEDS for and someone comes and takes I from you, your whole life taken and no compensation.

    Come on GUYS lets really look at the development that was there and what is now there, from green plush meadows with Value to desolate dry lands with a few cabbages growing and a few skinny cows trying to find food and watered by buckets because dams, pumps etc were broken not repaired allowed to deteriorate, now that fertile land looks like the previous rural lands where it was previously fertile but now…. and WHY because loans cannot be given to unsecured property. I would not loan anyone anything unless i was sure of getting it back and neither would you.

    So if you want the land Pay for it do a proper transfer through the ministry of lands and the courts put your name on the paper on the DEEDS and make sure you pay for what you are getting then you can get your sorry ass into gear and get loans to develope just like the old owners did thats if you can.

  16. Straight Shooter

    What a mess this land issuue has become in Gukurahundi Zimbabwe. These are the same people who expect economic growth; they expect foreign investors to come flocking in; they also expect agricultural production – but how on earth is this supposed to happen in an environment like this?

    These are the same people who claim to be the most educated people on the African continent, yet they barely understand the nuances of legal title to property and its implications regarding rasing funding for further economic activities. They dont understand what collateral means and what it is for.

    Please, Lord have mercy!

  17. gonzo


    1. Petal

      Bob does not want to work with anyone Zimbabwe is MINE – LEAVE MY ZIMBABWE like he built the country from scratch – selfish heartless old man his children are going to suffer for his sins- while he rots in hell -period.

  18. Zim Patriot

    I think the Zanoids should follow South African land reform, land identified, current owner paid at fair market value, not just for improvements……or if land claim the claimants given choice of farm or money and everyone is happy. But compensation is paid before white farmer booted unlike Zimbabwe where theft and blatant theft is the order of the day. In South Africa post independence there is NO premeditated violence forcing people to vote for ruling party and their constitution is sound, compare economies? Our God is a God of justice and righteousness and until we as a nation turn from our evil, murdering, thieving ways He will not bless us……..No Farmers, No Future…..since 2000 you can see what has happened to the economy and how other African countries have benefitted from having Zimbabwean farmers produce maize and wheat?????Lord have mercy!!!!!!!

  19. Zim Patriot

    Liars and thieves when they say they don’t have money to compensate farmers…..too much money wasted on benzes and selfish, lavish living, instead of prioritizing for civil sector and other priorities

  20. Doris

    And despite the fact that the title deed holder developed the land, made it fertile through good agricultural practices, spent a lifetime bringing the crops up to export quality, in certain circumstances planted orchards, grew fantastic crops and gave their staff a decent wage and living conditions. Try going back to those farms to see how they are faring. Huh! Z.R.P.are now guarding some farms to stop anyone seeing how run down and derelict they are. Visit google earth to see for yourself. Machinery and equipment not paid for, now broken and useless. No crops in the ground. Pumps broken etc etc. I could go on. What a total waste of time and money to the detriment of the Zimbabwean people. And of course the heart ache to the once proud white farmer.

  21. Mlimo

    One has to look at the right role of a governemnt:
    Rule of law and order – Zanupf failed from 1980
    Justice for all noy just zanupf – zanupf failed since 1980
    Right of land tenure – zanupf failed since 1980
    Health and well being – zanupf failed since 1980
    Education – zanupf failed since 2000
    Infrastructure – zaunpf failed scince 1980
    Finance – zanupf has failed since 1975
    Ecocnomic growth and devlopment – zanupf failed since 1980
    Sustainability – zanupf failed since 1980
    Agriculture and land – zanupf failed since 1980
    National parks and wild life – zanupf failed since 1980
    Environment – zanupf failed since 1980
    Water resources – zanupf failed since 1980.

    These are the fundamentals of good government – zanupf has failed them all and the village idiots still vote for them?

  22. zanupf fear me

    Eddie you are really getting soft !!!!!!! Zanupf and legal niceties ????????¿

    1. Mauya

      until they resolve that problem they are not free to do what they want in as far as conferring title rights is concerned.’ whose rights are being talked about here? Mr Cross remember that Zimbabwean land is for Zimbabwean, why do you want to support ideologies that are so absurd? whe you talk about rights, start by thinking of your own backyard in the land of your fathers, some one come and force you off the land only to tell you that this is my land? don’t be crazy, Zimbabwean have the right at all costs to take back their land and use it as they wish, being economically and militarilly powerfull is not a passport to go on global policing, learn to rest other people by the verture that they are people just as you are not bassing on colour, race or belief.


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