Mukudzei Chingwere and Elita Chikwati
Government has introduced the new securitised A2 Model Settlement Permit with advanced security features to curb fake offer letters.
This follows the emergence of land ownership disputes countrywide with people in some cases vying for occupation of farms using different offer letters.
Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Minister Dr Anxious Masuka yesterday said holders of valid old offer letters would be advised on where and when to collect their new securitised settlement permits.
He said stakeholders were expected to acquaint themselves with the new permits which have six distinctive features.
The features include a system-generated permit number; serial number with special reflective ink; reactive underground micro-text, invisible fluorescent national Coat of Arms; hologram seal and system-generated internal seal.
“Coinciding with the securitised A2 Model Settlement Permit, are updated conditions for the issuance of the permit indicating Government expectations and obligations of the beneficiaries of the Land Reform Programme.
“These new conditions replace the old offer letter conditions with immediate effect. The conditions are available at district and provincial land and Agritex offices and the ministry’s website,” said Minister Masuka. “All offer letter and permit holders should fully acquaint themselves with these conditions which will now be enforced.
“Non-adherence by farmers can lead to the withdrawal of offer letters/permits,” said Minister Masuka.
Those with authentic documents will not be inconvenienced by the new policy measure which seeks to weed out fraudulent allocation and redistribution of land.
This means those who obtained an offer letter legally and have been using their land will have little trouble getting the new document, basically just signing a form. The current policy position on land redistribution focuses on identifying for re-allocation, land from multiple farm owners, abandoned farms, under-utilised farms, derelict farms and farms found to be above the maximum size for the ecological zone.
Applications for land are made through the district committees and vetted by the provincial committees. However there have been reports of malpractices, which the Government now seeks to arrest.
President Mnangagwa is on record encouraging every Zimbabwean who needs land to follow due process in acquiring land, while warning invaders that they could not succeed.
Farmers yesterday welcomed the move and said it would curb illegal land deals which were affecting most genuine farmers.
Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union president, Dr Shadreck Makombe said the introduction of the new permit and offer letters was a milestone.
“The securitised A2 offer letter and permit is a noble idea. We support the initiative because there were lots of land disputes which were being caused by counterfeit offer letters and permits.
“This move will curb the malpractice and protect genuine farmers. The move will help farmers to concentrate on their work of producing food for the nation without any disturbances,” he said.
Zimbabwe Indigenous Women Farmers Association Trust President Mrs Depinah Nkomo said the securitised features on permits will put an end to illegal activities by unscrupulous land officers.
“Some people have been making money using fake permits and offer letters disturbing genuine farmers in the process. This has resulted in the destruction of environment. We no longer have grazings as people are being resettled on undesignated areas,” she said.