Victims of state land fraud could face eviction or demolition of their houses as they are occupying unauthorised spaces, Secretary of the Commission of Inquiry into the sale of state land, Virginia Mabiza has said.
Addressing a press conference in Harare today, Mabiza said although it remains the jurisdiction of the local authorities and the Local government ministry, there are chances that houses will be demolished as most of the land will need to be repossessed.
“There are chances of houses being demolished but perhaps that rests with the local authorities and the board and the local government ministry.
“You find that some areas which were reserved for relational activities are now occupied and that poses a great threat to the occupants of the area. There needs to be a recommendation from the powers that be in order for that sort of action to be taken,” said Mabiza.
Since the dreaded operation Murambatsvina/Restore Order of 2005 when government sanctioned the demolition of all illegal structures, the country has faced a huge housing backlog which has left hundreds of thousands of people in dire need of decent housing.
The few that have gotten spaces to build their houses, have fallen victims to mushrooming land barons who have been pouncing on desperate home seekers while duping them in the process.
The government has since appointed a commission of inquiry, tasked with investigating actors involved in the allocation of fraudulent land and to look into the land acquisition and allocation by current occupants.
The chairperson of the commission, Justice Tendai Uchena bemoaned the continued selling of state land to cooperatives, local authorities, and individual state land sellers among others.
Justice Muchena said the commission, upon completion, will furnish the report to President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who, at his volition, will decide on whether to publicly expose the perpetrators.
“We have a report that we will give to His Excellence but it is upon himself to make it public,” he said.
Drawn into comment on who the perpetrators are, Justice Muchena could not shed light as he said it would defeat the purpose of the investigation.
However, Chief Investigator of the commission of inquiry, Godfree Muza revealed that among other actors in the illegal distribution of state land is former Zanu-PF Youth League Political Commissar, Innocent Hamandishe, who is facing five counts of illegal distribution of state land.
In its current findings, the commission of inquiry has so far conducted site visits to and hearings on 14 urban state land units in Matebeleland South Province, Bulawayo Metropolitan Province and Matebeleland North Province.
So far, the commission of inquiry is working on producing reports for the six provinces covered so far.