THE Government has refuted claims pertaining to the alleged repossession of a farm in Matabeleland North allegedly owned by Osisa director Mr Siphosami Malunga and his two partners.
Government says the farm was compulsorily acquired under the Land Reform programme in 2004 from a white farmer.
According to The Herald, Mr Malunga and his partners later bought a shadowy company that claimed to own the farm, but did not have exclusive ownership of the land in question since it had been acquired by Government almost two decades before.
Matabeleland North Province Minister of State Hon Richard Moyo said Government is not in the business of removing blacks from farms and Malunga and his partners can benefit from the largesse if they do not own land elsewhere.
“The farm in question belonged to white farmers by the name of Swindells. When Government compulsorily acquired land in the 2000s we did not immediately resettle people because there was a black man by name Eddie Warambwa who claimed to have bought the farm from the white man. It was only after his death that we realised that he was a front of the white man and measures were taken to repossess the land, there is no victimisation here.
“Maybe Mr Malunga and his partners bought assets on the farm but certainly not the land as it belongs to Government. We are in the process of allocating the land and those who were on the farm will benefit just as any other Zimbabwean if they do not have another piece of land elsewhere,” he said.
This comes as Mr Malunga has been claiming on social media platforms that the repossession of the land he illegally occupied in 2017 is not about the Land Reform programme.
But investigations have revealed that the three, who, apart from Mr Malunga, also include Mr Zephaniah Dhlamini and Charles Moyo, instead of applying for the land to Government, when the offer was presented to them they chose not to.
The Lands Ministry later on established the trio were using only 30 hectares out of the 500ha and at some point during land inspection, they submitted the sale of shares document which was however deemed fraudulent as it was not signed.
Further, sources close to the three said they could also not apply to Government because one of them has a farm in Bubi measuring 1600ha which he benefited from the Land Reform programme.