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The Mozambican Minister of Land, Environment and Rural Development, Celso Correia, on Thursday announced a crackdown on people who have applied for Land Use Titles (known as DUATs), but are not using the land.
Correia told a Maputo meeting that his Ministry is launching a “National Land Inspection Campaign”, that will run from 1 April to 31 July (i.e. after the rainy season, which ends on 31 March).
The purpose is to ensure that those who have land titles are using the land in accordance with the plans they submitted when they applied for their DUATs.
According to a report in Friday’s issue of the independent weekly “Savana”, about 7.8 million hectares of land will be inspected. The inspection brigades will look at tracts of land equal to or larger than 1,000 hectares, where DUATS were granted between 1999 and 2012. Land that is lying idle, or is being used for purposes other than those stated in the land use plan, will revert to the state.
In cases where only part of the land is in use, the holders of the DUATs will be urged to re-apply, but for smaller areas. Correia’s Ministry fully expects to recover about a million hectares of land that are not being used.
One unnamed Ministry official told “Savana” it was a delicate operation “because we shall have to take land away from people who aren’t using it, and many of them are politically well connected”.
The Ministry will involve the provincial and district governments, local communities and legal bodies such as the Attorney-General’s Office in the inspection brigades.
Through the campaign the government will be able to update its data on the occupation and use of land, ensure that unused land can be made available for other investment, and collect the fees which holders of DUATs should pay every year.
This is the second major campaign that Correia’s ministry has run. The first, “Operation Trunk”, waged in mid-2017 in the central and northern provinces, was an offensive against illegal timber operators. It resulted in the seizure of over 150,000 cubic metres of illegally logged timber, much of which is now being used to produce school furniture.Source: AIM
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