By Alex Bell
SW Radio Africa
14 April 2014
The ZANU PF government has been urged to restore full ownership of once productive agricultural farms in Manicaland, which were targeted for takeover under the party’s land grab campaign.
The Deputy President of the Confederations of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI), Henry Nemaire said in an interview with NewZimbabwe.com last week that the land should be returned to its more productive former owners.
Nemaire said the government should consider ‘delisting’ major commercial properties, resulting in the return of title deeds to the original land owners. He said this would allow the firms to access funds and return to production.
Successful commercial farms across the country were all but destroyed in the process of the land seizure campaign, which was done under the guise of ‘reform’. The removal of title deed, and the subsequent destruction of future property rights, means there is little reinvestment opportunities in the agricultural sector.
“Land for companies such as Border Timbers, Wattle Company, Makandi, Tongaat Hullet should be delisted so that they get the title deeds, which they can use to borrow huge sums for recapitalisation and re-tooling,” said Nemaire.
He was also quoted as saying that ‘re-tooling’ of local companies with state of the art machinery was key, as it would give them leverage to compete with other manufacturers in countries in regions such as Southern Africa, Europe and Asia.
“There is need for urgent re-tooling and acquiring of world class standard machinery. If you get modern technology that produce high quality products then you can compete with foreign markets,” said the CZI vice president.
Companies such as Karina, Border Timbers, Cairns Holdings, Quest Motors, Tanganda, Wattle, which used to employ thousands of people, have either closed down or are now operating below capacity.
A return to successful agricultural production, with a constitutionally protected right to property and title deed, has for years been touted as the key to turning around Zimbabwe’s economic failures. But ZANU PF, which insists the land grab was a success, has not budged since the campaign launched over a decade ago.