Chinamasa says government blundered in allowing invasion of timber plantations

Source: Chinamasa says government blundered in allowing invasion of timber plantations | The Financial Gazette February 23, 2017

FINANCE Minister Patrick Chinamasa says government made a mistake in allowing landless blacks to invade timber plantations in the east of the country at the height of the controversial land reform exercise 17 years ago.

Producers lost about 30 000 hectares of prime timber to plantation occupations during the government’s land seizure drive that started in 2000 and led to the industry losing 20 years of its reserves by end of 2012, which affected the performance of the sector.

It also lost over US$2 billion in potential revenue and over 3  000 jobs due to deforestation by the settlers.

“We should admit our faults as government in areas that we have erred. It was never a good idea to allocate forestry to individuals. These people had no capacity to run timber plantations. The industry requires huge capital investments, huge loans with soft interests over a long period of time.

“But these illegal settlers only had capacity to harvest and could not afford to replant. Right now we don’t have plantations to talk of and as government we are saying they should be removed from the plantations” said Chinamasa during a business meeting organised by the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI).

Timber Producers Federation of Zimbabwe (TPF) chief executive Darlington Duwa said while the evacuation of illegal settlers was welcomed, government should act urgently.

Chinamasa however, said the matter was a political minefield and the evacuations had to be carried out under following the law.

“Yes I do agree that the matter should be addressed with urgency. But you have to understand that most of the illegal settlements are politically motivated and as such hard to deal with. It would have been easier if the people were intellectuals,” he said.

“But what I can say is that we first have to identify a place to relocate these people before we can move them. So it will take a bit of some time.” – The Source


  • comment-avatar
    Fundi 5 years ago

    Chinmasa your logic can be extended to the whole land reform program, as farming requires skill and capital not just unemployed masses and fat cats being promised free farms and then the government acts surprised when production is zero. In fact the government an whole country wouldn’t be in the current financial mess if it wasn’t for the land reform!!

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    Joe Cool 5 years ago

    Ah – so there we have it at last – “these are politically-motivated illegal settlements”. And what about the ‘invasion’ of the farms? Also “politically-motivated illegal settlements”, or somehow distinguishable? Careful how you go, Patrick – you are the one who drafted the legislation, remember?

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    In fact, there is no logic at all in what Chinamasa is saying just bluffing as usual. For starters, can is there ever be any no logic in singling out a specific sector when we all know that the whole disorderly, unplanned & unregulated incitement of people to occupy land willy-nilly, by a regime that had failed to orderly allocate land in more than 30 yrs, was simply a facade of the worst kind. Now Chinamaa & his zanu pf are busy chasing away the same people they incited to illegally occupy land against all . Yet, as a government they had over 30 yrs to orderly distribute land to the landless Zimboz. Nxaaaaaa!