Government has started auditing more than 25 black-owned farms in Masvingo East district where some of the indigenous owners are suspected of fronting white former farmers in a bid to circumvent the land redistribution programme.Lands and Rural Resettlement Minister Dr Douglas Mombeshora yesterday said the results of the audit were expected to be out at the end of this week.
Cde Mombeshora said Government would never tolerate a situation where blacks front white former farmers saying those caught in the audit net would lose their farms instantly.
He said the agriculturally-rich Masvingo East commercial farming region was the only area being audited in the country after it surfaced that the majority of new black farm owners fronted white former farmers.
“The exercise (audit of farms) is going on in Masvingo East and if they are any fronts, they will be flushed out and the land will be redistributed to landless people in the province (Masvingo). We will never tolerate people who front white farmers when our people are still in need of land.
“So far allegations of blacks fronting white former farmers have been reported in Masvingo East only and nowhere else so this audit is not a national exercise but peculiar to Masvingo East district only and by Friday this week we should have a report of the state of the situation on the ground,’’ he said.
Minister Mombeshora said the black farm owners in Masvingo East were supposed to show proof of having purchased the farms in question from white former farmers by producing documents like title deeds and receipts showing how they paid for the properties. He said the fate of hundreds of land-hungry villagers from areas such as Zaka, Bikita, and Gutu who invaded most black-owned farms in Masvingo East, after raising allegations of fronting white farmers, would be decided after audit results are out.
Minister Mombeshora said he was on a familiarisation tour of all the country’s eight provinces to carry out an assessment of challenges around the land reform programme with a view to find solutions over some land hot spots.
So far he has already been to Masvingo and Manicaland provinces and would continue with his visit to other provinces in the coming few days after which his office would have a full picture of the state of affairs across the country on land issues.