By Anna Chibamu
AT LEAST 250 000 people are on the government’s land distribution waiting list, but according to Lands Minister Anxious Masuka, there are no more farms for new beneficiaries.
The government embarked on a controversial land redistribution exercise in the early 2000s, a process that saw thousands of white farmers being forcibly removed and replaced by black citizens.
However, Masuka told House of Assembly MPs Wednesday all land reserved for resettlement had been exhausted.
“As of now, most of the land has been distributed. If you go around, you will not find a place that is vacant. Even where there is no farming, but in the registry, these farms will be having owners,” he said.
“We now have more than 250 000 people who are on the waiting list. Those whom we gave farms in A2 are only 20 000.
“I said the land reform process is almost complete. All the farms that are available have been given. One may move around and see an unsettled farm but invariably on our records, that farm would have been offered to someone.
“So on our database, it will appear as if it is occupied to an extent, because there is no additional land that is available to give to people, we now have gone back to look at redistributing that which we have given to others already.”
He repeated the government’s threats that people with multiple farms would have the land repossessed while under-utilised farms would also be targeted for redistribution.
“We are making a follow-up on those who have more than one farm. We refer to them as multiple farm owners. We are following up also on those who abandoned their farms. We also take note of those who are underutilising their land. We will take action on derelict farm owners.
“We are now looking at downsizing farms and redistributing to others. The opportunity to get a farm is very slim as of now. You will see that we are actually taking from those whom we once gave these farms, but for now, we are looking at the nation rising to demand pieces of land.”
MDC Alliance MP Anele Ndebele also requested the Lands Minister furnishes Parliament with a list of farms that were offered for resettlement by the late lands Minister Perrance Shiri.
Masuka said the list was being compiled and promised to submit it next week.