Government sets record straight on Malunga ‘farm grab’ claim

by | Jun 16, 2021 | Local News | 0 comments

Brian Rungano Temba

Claims by Osisa Director Siphosami Malunga that Government wants to take land he acquired from a white company are untrue, a Government official has said.

Matabeleland North Province Minister of State Richard Moyo said sometime back Malunga purchased the Swindells Company but the package did not include the 500ha farm, which Government had acquired from Mr Swindell prior to the transaction.

Minister Moyo explained the dynamics in a recent interview with The Herald.
“The farm in question belonged to white farmers by the name of Swindells. When Government compulsorily acquired land in the 2000s we did not immediately resettle people because there was a black man by name Eddie Warambwa who claimed to have bought the farm from the white man,” said Minister Moyo.

He said after Warambwa`s death, it became clear that he was a front for the Swindells and measures were taken to repossess the land.
“Maybe Mr Malunga and his partners bought assets on the farm but certainly not the land as it belongs to Government. We are in the process of allocating the land and those who were on the farm will benefit just as any other Zimbabwean if they do not have another piece of land elsewhere,” he said.

The issue was further clarified by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Mr Nick Mangwana yesterday.

Mr Mangwana said; “In 2017 Sipho Malunga bought a Swindells company for US$33k. Clearly the 500ha farm had already been acquired by Govt in 2004 was not part of this transaction. A stand, and not a farm is bought for US33k. To say Government is taking a Malunga farm is incorrect.”
Mr Mangwana said Malunga is not the only one who lays claim to the land, but others have followed due process.

“In 2010 Deputy Minister of Industrty and Commerce, Honourable Raj Modi bought the farm at an auction for US$250k as part of the Warambwa Estate debt but discovered it was already State land and abandoned the purchase.
A purported purchase in 2017 does not dislodge Government acquisition in 2004,” said Mr Mangwana.

A few days ago, Malunga took Twitter seeking public sympathy trying to frame his circumstances as a miscarriage of the land reform programme, when he knew that there was more nuance to the matter as explained by Government.