ENVIRONMENT minister Saviour Kasukuwere yesterday warned more than 3 500 families illegally settled in Allied Timbers-owned plantations that they would soon be kicked out as the company seeks to restore its viability.
Addressing journalists at the unveiling of the company’s new board in Harare, Kasukuwere said Cabinet had already approved the eviction plans.
He said the inauguration of the new board comes at a time when the timber industry is under threat from poaching, uncontrolled veld fires and illegal settlements inside plantations especially in Mutasa and Chimanimani districts.
“We have agreed in Cabinet and my counterpart in the Ministry of Lands and Resettlement Douglas Mombeshora that all people illegally settled within the plantations should be moved so that the activities of growing timber can go on uninterrupted,” Kasukuwere said.
He added: “We should be seen to be upholding the rule of law and the illegal settlers will have to be resettled somewhere by the relevant authorities.”
In Manicaland province, illegal settlers have reportedly invaded over 3 000 hectares of land within the plantations and destroyed valuable timber.
The new Allied Timbers board announced yesterday will be chaired by Emmanuel Fundira.
The other board members are Jerry Gotora, Hussein Omar, Anne Madzara, Tendai Mavhunga, Eve Mukondo, Itai Ndudzo, Charity Moyo, Joseph Kanyekanye and Caleb Garura.
Kasukuwere implored the new board to hit the ground running and change the fortunes of the biggest timber producer in the country.
“We expect to receive dividends from Allied Timbers as a people who have been starved of revenue for a very long time,” he said.
In his acceptance speech, Fundira said: “While being humbled by the appointment, I should say I am also impressed by the combination of the skills and experience in the new board.”