Source: Cabinet okays Land Commission Bill | The Herald June 1, 2016
Felex Share Senior Reporter
Cabinet has approved the Land Commission Bill as Government steps up efforts to weed out multiple farm owners, resolve land disputes and deal with land reform beneficiaries leasing out farms to white former commercial farmers.
The land audits will be carried out by a Land Commission. Rural Resettlement Minister Dr Douglas Mombeshora yesterday said members for the commission had already been identified.
The Land Commission is a requirement under Section 296 of the Constitution.
“Cabinet has approved the Bill and it is now following the Parliament processes. We have already written to Parliament seeking for a slot for presentation.
“We have not been given a date yet, but all is in order. The Bill is a requirement in the Constitution, but what is there is just a broad statement and the Bill goes into detail how these things will be done.
“For example what is expected of the Land Commission, its functions are elaborated in the Bill. It also repeals the Agricultural Land Resettlement Act and the Land Acquisition Act.”
According to the new Constitution, the Land Commission should carry out periodic land audits and ensure accountability, fairness and transparency in the administration of agricultural land controlled by the State. It is also expected to make recommendations to Government regarding all aspects of agricultural land and to investigate complaints related to administration and allocation of land.
The Commission will report to the Minister. The Land Commission should be made up of a chairperson, deputy chair and between two and seven other members appointed by the President. The members are chosen for their integrity and knowledge of best practices in land management. Dr Mombeshora said the Land Commission was replacing the Agricultural Land Board and was meant to augment efforts of the land reform programme and ensure resettled farmers achieved maximum productivity.
More than 400 000 families benefited from the agrarian reform programme which gave landless black people a chance to own land.
President Mugabe recently warned farmers, especially A2, that those taking land as a status symbol would lose it. Some land beneficiaries have been leasing their farms to white former commercial farmers while others had acquired the land fraudulently.
Government last year unearthed a scam where land was being allocated to children under the age of 10.