Walter Mswazie Masvingo Correspondent
ABOUT 300 families settled at Samba Ranch Farm in Chiredzi are facing eviction to pave way for businessman Mr Moses Chingwena who was reportedly granted a High Court order to evict the families. The national land inspectorate has reportedly set a taskforce to oversee the evictions of the illegal settlers who have been at the farm for the past 15 years. Minister of State for Provincial Affairs for Masvingo Cde Shuvai Mahofa said the national lands committee was seized with the matter and a verdict to move or not to move the families will be known in a few weeks’ time.
She said the provincial leadership had a meeting with the committee led by Police Deputy Commissioner- General Godwin Matanga recently and they deliberated over the Samba Ranch issue after which Mr Chingwena was asked to provide the team with all his papers showing that he was the rightful owner of the farm.
“It is true that there are issues of that nature but for now we are waiting for a ruling from the lands committee. However, according to the papers from the High Court Mr Chingwena won the right to the farm and the families have to be evicted. What the lands committee wants is only to verify if the businessman’s papers bear testimony to his claims after which a way forward will be found,” said Cde Mahofa.
She said while an alternative could be found, no vacant farm has been identified for the families in case the evictions are effected.
“We have to look for alternatives but for now as a province, we have not yet identified any vacant land where these families can be settled. However, for now we are waiting for the national land inspectorate to give us their verdict after getting the necessary papers from Mr Chingwena,” she said.
Last year Cde Mahofa was quoted arguing that the families could not be moved from Samba Ranch as their stay was regulated by the Government in 2000 when the farm was legally acquired at the height of the land reform programme.
Villagers at the farm are resisting eviction arguing that they were legally settled by the Government and Mr Chingwena should be allocated another farm in Chiredzi.
Mr Chingwena is reported to have approached the Ministry of Lands and Resettlement with a plan to expand his sugarcane plantation and install a sugarcane mill at the farm. Efforts to get a comment from him were fruitless.