Joseph Madzimure Senior Reporter
THE Zanu PF Politburo wants Government to regularise illegal settlements around major cities and compensate the original owners of the land that was occupied illegally.
The Politburo, which is the party’s highest decision-making body, arrived at the decision after hours of serious deliberations on the manner in which land was being distributed in and around towns across the country.
Government is battling to contain the increasing number of land-seekers most of whom end up settling illegally on farms or areas around towns countrywide.
Addressing journalists at the 338 Ordinarily Session of the Politburo at Zanu PF Headquarters in Harare, the party’s secretary for Administration Dr Obert Mpofu said the leadership of the party discussed immensely the issue raised in the meeting, by the party’s deputy secretary for the Youth League, Cde Tendai Chirau.
“The general feeling among the leadership of the party is that there was rampant illegal allocation of land in the peri-urban areas of most of our cities. This was done on land, which is owned by the State, but individuals at the time allowed people to settle on those pieces of land illegally. The feeling of the Politburo is that instead of disturbing the settlers that were illegally allocated land through nefarious activities of people in leadership positions, Government should formalise the settlements.
“Government should inherit the problem and allow settlements to remain in those areas and compensate the true owners of that land if there is need for that. That is the matter, which the youths raised and it was well received by most members of the Politburo,” said Dr Mpofu.
The Politburo discussed at length the need for Government to compensate those whose land has been occupied by illegal settlers.
“Instead of destabilising people who have been there for quite a long time, there is need for Government to compensate those who were dispossessed of their land through the illegal activities and then compensate them for their land that had been occupied illegally.
“So that is really the premise within which this position was taken,” said Dr Mpofu.
In addition, Dr Mpofu said inroads were being made in the acquisition of land in the provinces where more opportunities would be available for youths to engage in agriculture.
In a related development, Dr Mpofu said demand for housing has over the years outstripped supply, driven by rural-to-urban and inter-city migration in major cities such as Harare, Bulawayo, Gweru and Mutare, where people believe there are better prospects for employment.