New farmers wont pay levy

MASVINGO Zanu (PF) resettled farmers here who benefited from President Robert Mugabes infamous land reform programme are failing to pay the development levy set by the government.

The resettled farmers, most of whom have seen a major flop in their farming activities, have openly said they couldnt afford to pay the levies as they were unaffordable. As a result, the Gutu Rural District Council said it would engage the

services of a debt collector and institute legal action against the resettled farmers next month.

In an interview with The Zimbabwean, a council official who requested anonymity in fear of reprisals from Zanu (PF) war veterans said: The decision to engage the services of a debt collector and institute legal action follows a long time stalemate between the local authority and the resettled farmers. The farmers are refusing to pay the levies saying they are too high while others are saying it is the land that they fought for and they should not pay for it. The whole thing has become political, he said.

He added that the war veterans had failed to note that government was responsible for setting the charges on the development levy. Some farmers interviewed said the amount was unaffordable for them as they were not realising any meaningful profits in their farming activities. We are poor farmers. I have seven hectares and I cannot pay US$21 for

that. Where do I get that money?, said a farmer.

Chief Gutu, who is an ex-officio member of Gutu Rural District Council, castigated the council for its plans to engage debt collectors. This is intimidation to the resettled farmers. I think there should be amicable ways of solving the differences and the government should quickly intervene, he said.

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