THE government has issued 18,000 families with eviction notices after they allegedly occupied a number of farms in the Midlands province without the approval of the Ministry of Lands and Rural Resettlement.
Some of the people were allegedly illegally settled by some chiefs and headmen in the province.
Midlands provincial lands officer Kudzai Katiyo told The Chronicle yesterday that more than 18,000 illegal settlers were supposed to vacate some farms as a matter of urgency.
“We’ve about 18,000 illegally resettled people who are supposed to be moved from the farms they’re occupying. We’ve started serving the illegal settlers with eviction notices,” she said.
She said Chief Nhema of Shurugwi had illegally resettled people in Linslade, Hashu and Albany Farms in Chirumhanzu in August 2013.
Katiyo said the chief then went on to write a letter asking the Lands Ministry to formalise the resettlement arguing that the farms fell under his jurisdiction.
The provincial lands officer said the land in question, however, falls under the jurisdiction of the Gweru Lands Committee.
“Chief Nhema illegally resettled people and they’re supposed to be moved. Zvishavane has 234 illegal settlers, Gweru 900, Gokwe South 1,000, Gokwe North 2,000, Shurugwi 10,000, Mberengwa 2,700 and Kwekwe 500 among other illegal settlers in the province,” she said.
Katiyo said the government was in the process of carrying out farm audits in the province.
Early this year, the Lands Ministry halted a farm downsizing exercise after it emerged that some people were paying corrupt officials to have their farms spared.