ZPRA was a military wing of ZAPU during Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle.
The ex-ZPRA freedom fighters lost their properties when the government seized them under the Unlawful Organisation Act in 1982 (Caveat No. 15 of 82) and transferred them to the President of Zimbabwe in January 1987 (under Caveat No. 56 of 87).
This was after the veterans had contributed $50 each from their demobilisation payout after independence to purchase 52 properties through their investment vehicle, Nitram Investments Private Limited.
Since then ZPRA has been lobbying the government to release their properties whose worth is said to be running into billions of dollars.
Some of the properties include Magnet House which houses the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) offices in Bulawayo, Kudu Motors, Hampton Farm, Ascot Farm, Nest-egg farm, Woodyglen Farm, Mbalabala Garage, Nyamandlovu Farm, Snake Park and Salisbury Motel in Harare among others.
Speaking in Parliament recently, Ndebele said it was high time the government returned the confiscated properties to their rightful owners.
“Firstly, I believe the question of ZPRA properties that were confiscated by the Mugabe regime is also a matter of the welfare of veterans,” said Ndebele.
“Is there a consideration by the Second Republic to return these properties to ZPRA cadres because they contributed part of their demobilisation funds to procure these properties?”
In her response, Defence and War Veterans Affairs Minister, Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, said the matter was being looked into.
“This issue of [ZPRA] properties is a legacy issue that is being looked at because, as you may appreciate, the composition of our board brings in ZIPRA and ZANLA forces and these issues we hope will be deliberated at that level and an amicable solution will be found,” she said.
“So we will leave it at that. These are issues that we must address.”
Efforts to have the properties have always hit a snag despite the ex-ZPRA combatants having met President Emmerson Mnangagwa over the matter.