The government says it has started to identify and register white former commercial farm owners to be compensated for land acquired during the Land Reform Programme.
The government has already set aside RTGS$53 million for the exercise. The compensation will be for infrastructural developments done on the land by the former farmers.
A joint statement released by Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement Minister Perrance Shiri and Finance and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube reads in part:
In this regard, the Ad Hoc Compensation Working Group, comprising Government officials and representatives of former farm owners, is working towards the computation and establishing the compensation quantum figure for farm improvements based on an agreed method of valuation.
Given the significant progress made to date, it is anticipated that this comprehensive farm improvements valuation exercise will be completed by the end of May 2019.
The completion of the work of the Ad Hoc Compensation Working Group will enable Government and former farm owners, in conjunction with cooperating partners, to progress towards closure of the land issue.
… In the meantime, the Government’s accelerated farm valuation exercise for farm improvements is expected to be complete by the end of this month.
This will pave the way for both parties to reach an agreement on the compensation quantum figure for farm improvements by the end of May 2019.
Interim advance payments will be made directly to the former farmers by the Ministry of Agriculture.
Meanwhile, reports claim that the government has issued a directive that all remaining white commercial farmers be issued with 99-year leases rather than the 5-year leases they were being given under a previous arrangement.