Errant farmers risk losing land 

Source: Errant farmers risk losing land – DailyNews Live

Mugove Tafirenyika      28 April 2018

HARARE – Government has threatened to repossess land from farmers who let
their livestock roam unattended.

In a press statement released on Wednesday, Agriculture minister Perrance
Shiri said: “Farmers who continue to be a problem risk having their offer
letters withdrawn so as to enable production to continue without
unnecessary interruptions. We encourage farmers to report to our extension
staff and to the police such problem farmers.”

He urged farmers to erect boundary fencing within three months after their
farms have been surveyed to limit the free roaming of livestock.

Shiri further warned farmers to desist from threatening agricultural
extension officers on official assignments in the resettlement areas.

“There are, however, increasing disturbing and unwarranted incidents of
government personnel, who will be conducting official assignments, being
harassed and threatened by some farmers,” he said.

“This must stop forthwith. The government reserves the right to cancel
offer letters to such troublesome individuals.

“On the other hand, staff should strive to be professional all the time.
Farmers should report all staff that display unbecoming behaviour to the
authorities for corrective action to be taken,” Shiri said.

However, Shiri’s threats come on the back of an Administrative Court
ruling last year stating that the Lands and Rural Resettlement ministry
has no powers to withdraw offer letters it would have issued to farmers.

According to the ruling passed by Justice Herbert Mandeya, only the
president has such powers.

He made the ruling in a case in which the Lowveld Sugar Cane Growers
Association sued the then Lands and Rural Resettlement minister for
withdrawing their offer letters.

The association was offered land by government under the land reform
programme through offer letters from the ministry of Lands and Rural

The ministry later withdrew the letters on the strength of Clause 7 in the
Agricultural Land Resettlement Act.

The clause reads: “The minister reserves the right to withdraw or change
this offer letter if he deems it necessary, or if you are found in breach
of any of the set conditions.”

The Association argued that the ministry had no such powers, adding that
Clause 7 of the offer letter issued to the members was in fact prohibited
by law and, therefore, not enforceable.

It further argued that the Agricultural Land Settlement Act Chapter 20:01,
which empowers the ministry to issue offer letters to beneficiaries of the
land reform, empowered only the President of Zimbabwe to withdraw the
letters. – Financial Gazette