Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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New farmers in land lease deals

New farmers in land lease deals

By Isdore Guvamombe recently in Karoi

More than 30 beneficiaries of the Government’s land reform programme and on old resettlement schemes in Hurungwe District are allegedly leasing land to white former commercial farmers for as little as three to 10 percent of gross annual produce.

There are also reports that indigenous people who bought land before the reforms are leasing farms to white former commercial farmers.

In some cases, beneficiaries of the land reform programme have allegedly brought back former owners ejected by land reforms.

Hurungwe district administrator Ms Taurai Chirau, who chairs the district land committee, confirmed the cases.

“There are people leasing land to the white former commercial farmers big time.

“I am only two-months-old in this district and when I came here the land deals had already been struck.

“We will get direction on how to act from central Government,’’ she said.

Investigations by The Herald have revealed that black farmers — including war veterans and senior civil servants (some retired) — have sub-let farms for periods of between five and 15 years.

They are being paid three to 10 percent of the gross annual product.

Some of the white farmers have even built houses.

The real land owners, however, have no idea where the crop is sold and how much it is fetching because their agreements with the white farmers are largely vague.

As such, they do not know if what they are getting is based on actual production.

The leasees have installed expensive state-of-the-art equipment such as centre pivots and trolley bans that cost between US$100 000 and US$500 000 each.

Some of the farms allegedly being leased are Buttevant Farm (to Neville and Ben Watt) and Loguel Farm (Bright Bakker), Oribi Park (B. Stewart), Kialami (Andrew Hebsts) and Ngwarati (O’Neill).

Others have become multiple “owners” as they lease several farms and/or plots.

Ben Labber allegedly has two plots at Spring-bok and is also farming on Iverness Farm.

Geroge Getenburg is reportedly leasing two plots at Sholapark while George Heyns is said to be on three plots at Musuka Farm.

Investigations show that a C. Gardener could be leasing land on St Mark’s and Rukomeche farms.

The biggest alleged beneficiaries of the leasing scandal are allegedly Henk Terblanche and Ja-mes Stidolph.

Terblanche is said to be working on Myreign, Kent (three plots) and Pendennis, Hurungwe and Vuka Farms.

Stidolph has allegedly leased land on four plots at Vuti resettlement, and on Chinyerere and Omega farms.

In an interview, Mr Terblanche — whose family of five brothers and their father are leasing the various pieces of land — admitted to leasing the land.

“We have lease agreements with the owners because we have no land.

“As a family we used to have four farms — Dundazi, Moi, Tempeni and Ndumba.

“But they were all taken under the land reform. We trade as Overgrowing Company and here at Kent, we have a nine-year-11-month lease with Mr Ratson Njovana.

“We agreed on 6 percent payment at the end of each selling season, but since I have built a house, tobacco barns and invested in equipment, I will give him 3 percent for the first six years and then change to 6 percent thereafter.

“This is a build-operate-transfer agreement and so we will surrender everything to the farmer after the lease expires.

“I have four centre pivots right now and my partners have put up nothing other than the land.

“The problem is I want land, but my skin does not allow me.

“If I could jump into a pool and wash away my being white, I would do so and become black because I love farming,’’ he said.

Mr Terblanche denied that he was being fun-ded from outside the country.

“We are funded by my own company called Portkind Investments and not all those other lies.

“We are also at Masuka Estate owned by Mr Rama (an Indian) but that man wants too much money . . . I have problems with him,’’ he said.

Mr Rama, known in Karoi as “Sekuru Rama”, declined to comment.

Mashonaland West provincial war veterans’ association secretary Mr Ronson Goredema said


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