War vets want properties back

Source: War vets want properties back – Sunday News Jun 19, 2016

Dumisani Sibanda Sunday News Correspondent
THE Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) Bulawayo Province yesterday appointed a five-member committee which will press for the holding of a meeting of all ex-Zipra combatants who contributed to the purchase of several properties under Nitram which they want to reclaim.

A Bulawayo-based committee member of the organisation’s national executive, Cde Japhet Phuthi, will head the team which also has Cdes Dumisani Sibanda, Lot Siziba, Vasco Moyo and Max Khumalo. The committee was chosen during a war veterans meeting held in Bulawayo yesterday.

The affected properties include three in Bulawayo, Nest Eggs, Castle Arms and Black Cat Removals Building and two farms in Umguza, Woodlands and Ascot as well as Hamlington Farm in Gweru. In an interview after the setting up of the committee, Cde Phuthi said the properties had caveats placed on their title deeds at the height of post-independence disturbances in the 80s following the gazetting of a Statutory Instrument that paved way for the move.

“What needs to happen is for Parliament to change that law, so that the properties can be reclaimed by the ex-Zipra combatants who bought them while at assembly points soon after the liberation war,” said Cde Phuthi. “But people were resettled under the land reform programme at Hamlington Farm in Gweru and Government promised to give us a hunting concession in exchange, which has not happened and Ascot Farm was sold but I can’t understand how that was done when there was a caveat on it. As for Black Cats Removals it still has title deeds with names of the old directors even if it was bought by us Zipra comrades. We did not change the title deeds deliberately because the company was used to move arms for Umkhonto WeSizwe, the ANC military wing as it was fighting apartheid in South Africa then.”

Earlier, ZNLWVA Bulawayo provincial chairman Cde Cephas Ncube had told the meeting that the issue of the properties was raised during the 7 April meeting which the former freedom fighters had with President Mugabe, their Patron in Harare.

Cde Ncube was reporting back on the resolutions of the meeting with President Mugabe. He said there were a lot of issues that were agreed on like the issue of school fees for children of war veterans that had not been fully addressed. Cde Ncube said war veterans should press for the implementation of these resolutions to do with their welfare including decisions that have been outstanding for too long.

He said they had been promised more in terms of gratuities.

“People are quiet about this,” said Cde Ncube. “We are not asking for it yet the President agreed on it but said at the time the Government could not afford to pay the whole amount and paid Z$50 000 per person. The outstanding amount is Z$250 000 per person and if converted it amounted to US$18 000, per person.”

He said war veterans who received military training but did not go to the front to fight and have not been vetted should come forward for the vetting process to enable them to receive benefits.

“However, for those who returned home without being trained, a law has to be enacted for them to benefit. The same situation applies to war collaborators, a law has to be in place to enable them to benefit.”

He said some members from the province took part in an outreach programme throughout the country in which they clarified to ex-combatants that Cde Christopher Mutsvangwa was still the chairman of ZNLWA.

“Cde Mutsvangwa was dropped from Cabinet as Minister of War Veterans and also removed from the Politburo but he remains the chairman of our association,” said Cde Ncube.