GOVERNMENT has stepped up efforts to push the few remaining white commercial farmers off the land by empowering a reconstituted equipment committee to seize farming implements.
Sources privy to the operation said an equipment committee led by police Assistant Commissioner Ndanga this week swooped on Mwenezi district in rural Masvingo, seizing equipment worth billions of dollars.
The team left about 10 of the farms in the area under guard by armed personnel to forestall the farmers removing their equipment from the farms.
Farmers said the raids were an apparent last-ditch attempt to rid the province of its few remaining white farmers.
Raided farms included Reinette Ranch owned by Don Theron and Alko Ranch owned by an elderly widow, a Mrs Kloppers.
Theron confirmed that his equipment was seized on Monday by a group of 22 people who came in three heavy vehicles and three pick-up trucks. Amongst the people were the police, a prisons officer in uniform and self-styled war veterans.
“About 22 people, eight of them armed with rifles, came here at around midday on Monday,” Theron said.
“Their leader, a provincial police officer in Masvingo, a Mrs Ndanga, told me that they wanted to collect the equipment. She didn’t explain why but simply instructed her team to start loading the equipment onto a 30-tonne and an eight-tonne police truck.”
Theron said the equipment taken included tractors, trailers, water bowsers, road graders and irrigation pipes. The equipment was taken to Mwenezi police station and Masvingo central police station.
“They proceed to Alko Ranch where they took the same range of equipment. The value of the equipment runs into billions of dollars,” Theron said.
Farmers condemned the behaviour of the Masvingo Equipment Committee, describing this week’s raids as blatant acts of theft.
Ndanga refused to shed light on the matter saying: ” I don’t talk to the press over the phone. If you want to get information on that issue you will have to come and see me in person,” Ndanga said.