ZANU PF chefs and war veterans who grabbed farms under the land reform programme are being taken to court for failing to pay levies to Rural District Councils (RDCs,) the Zimbabwe Independen
t heard this week.
Highly-placed sources said summons have been dispatched to more than 200 A2 farmers, the majority of them political bigwigs and war veterans who have evaded levy payments over the past five years when they forcibly moved onto commercial farms.
Association of Rural District Councils president, Jerry Gotora, confirmed that farmers’ reluctance to pay levies had crippled RDCs’ operations and capacity to provide basic services. He however could not provide specific details on RDCs that had engaged debt collectors.
“I can’t give you which RDCs have already engaged debt collectors now because I am not in my office,” Gotora said.
“But you should understand that it is within the RDCs’ powers to engage debt collectors or even lawyers to ensure that farmers pay the levies.”
Gotora said he would be willing to provide specific details of what is happening next week when he gets back to his office.
Sources said RDCs which have already forwarded names to debt collectors include Mazowe, Shamva, and Mvurwi in the fertile Mashonaland Central province where chefs stampeded to grab prime properties.
“Topping the list of non-paying people are A2 farmers,” a source said. “The majority have not paid anything from the time when they moved on to the properties.”
Levies are used for the repair and upgrading of district infrastructure such as roads, clinics and schools.
But the newly drafted 99-year leases for occupiers of state land stipulate that the lessee can only secure the lease agreement when they have paid annual levies based on the type of land and improvements on the property they occupy.
Government has the right to cancel the agreement if the lessee fails to meet these conditions.