Government has finally decided to act on land barons and illegal settlements by crafting a cocktail of strategies that include reviewing legislation and setting up courts to specifically deal with them.
The fight against land barons is also targeting illegal settlements on wetlands.
Acting Information minister Jenfan Muswere said devolution funds would be availed to the Harare City Council and other municipalities for the purpose of strengthening the local authorities’ law enforcement capacities.
“The relevant legislation is being reviewed for the Zimbabwe Republic Police and municipal police to work together more efficiently, and for the establishment of Municipal Courts,” Muswere said.
He said government had concluded mapping of settlements against approved layout plans.
The next stage involves verification of settlements to determine those which conform to approved plans to pave way for regularisation and issuance of title deeds.
“Government notes and sternly warns against the sprouting of settlements on some State-owned land. Strict action will be taken against those, including leaders, who are found in clear breach of the country’s rural and urban land use laws,” Muswere said.
“Relevant legislation will also be reviewed to allow for this.”
Muswere said 347 suspected land barons had been arrested and 91 cases were before the courts, while 57 had since been finalised, with six convictions having been secured.
Government has also rolled out a five-year plan on wetland restoration from 2021 to 2025.
Six wetlands covering a total area of 600 hectares have been rehabilitated.
With regard to housing co-operatives, a dispute resolution committee to assist the Registrar of Co-operatives has been established.
A total of 129 cases have been resolved in 2022 countrywide.