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'Zimbabwe to honour property rights'

by Staff reporter
20 Jan 2018 at 13:55hrs | Views
President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said Zimbabwe will respect and honour property rights and the 99-year leases, which are currently being given to farmers, are transferable.

Speaking in an interview with Alec Russell of the Financial Times in Harare on Tuesday, the Head of State and Government said the 99-year leases cannot be expected to affect landholders since they provide sufficient security and tenure.

"To the extent that we honour property rights in relation to land, we've introduced the 99-year lease tenure. We don't have freehold any more, although we still have people holding freehold land but we have now legislated for 99-year leases which are transferable," said President Mnangagwa.

"This is where we're going and we don't see a person getting worried, being granted a 99-year lease; very few people live beyond 99 years but if they do they can always renew.

"That is with regard to agricultural land. Of course our land has different categories. The communal lands which have [unclear] people on them; there is no limit, it is a freehold. But agricultural land is a 99-year lease, yes," he said.

Government, he said, will continue compensating white former commercial farmers who lost their land through the land reform programme. Government is currently raising funds from the fiscus to pay the farmers. "That is an ongoing exercise. In terms of our law we are obligated to compensate any developments on land which was compulsorily acquired under the land reform programme.

"And some farmers have been already compensated but the large number of them have not and we are continuously raising funds on the fiscus for that compensation, although the persons affected are not too happy because the pressure's very strong," he said.

"So I have promised that I will not breach that commitment by Government; we shall continue to honour the compensation on the improvements on land as a result of the land reform programme, yes."

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