Translated by Francisco Chuquela
Josias Cossa, Head of the Provincial Services of Geography and Cadastre of Maputo, said that his institution had been excluded from the process that resulted in the delivery of land to Xinavane sugar mill and couldn´t therefore make much progress on the prevailing conflict.
About the exclusion also complained Manuel Faustino Chemane, Head of Distribution of Territorial Ordinance in Magude. Manuel Faustino Chemane was categorical in stating that “we didn´t have a direct involvement and our exclusion can be proven, because where we intervene there are always processes. It’s actually a bit tin, but at this point it’s hard to explain how that happened. We don´t even participate in this dialogue that is said to be taking place, but Xinavane sugar can help us a lot by explaining how it got the land in dispute.”
In what reminds hunti of witches, the Magude District Administration, instead of concentrating on the central problem, prefers to attack the periphery with intimidation. Indeed, the Magude District Government is in the power of an extensive list of families who are supposed to have been extorted by the commission representing the communities, promising to repossess their lands, promising to investigate and bring those involved to the bar of the courts. However, the commission defends itself by stating that it is consensual contributions to defray the costs inherent to the demarches in search of justice.
The fault is of the law
The Magude Administrator, Lázaro Bambamba, points out as the genesis of the conflict the fact that the Xinavane Sugar Company acquired the disputed lands under the old Land Law, which didn´t determine community consultation, and proceeded to the effective occupation when the new law, which determines Community consultation.
According to Administrator, even without the obligation of community consultation, the process involved the communities that were given the option of supplying sugarcane (raw material) to Açucareira, similarly to other associations. “However, a part of the communities preferred (?) The compensation, without being linked to the Sugar by association. After nine years, they want to retreat. We explain to the people that there is no room for another path, but to follow what the law says”, says the Administrator of Magude, Lázaro Bambamba, in a conspicuous contradiction with the Xinavane sugar mill, which reaffirms the willingness to welcome the communities in conflict, once there is financial availability that says to be in search of partners.
“The sugar company required the space, had the DUAT, there were compensations, the people were paid, they received money, in fact, these people chose (?) this and not the associativism”, radicalizes Bambamba.
Regarding the intimidation of members of the committee representing the communities, the Magude Administrator says that his executive rules as openly as possible and receives any citizen in his office, including his residence, to express any concern. “What I notice in this case is that there was somehow, on the part of the community commission, attempt to gain some visibility, resorting to the press. We don´t think it is relevant to be writing for all the entities, Government, Police, Province, Provincial Attorney, Party in power (Frelimo), they even went to the whole world. “
The Administrator confirms that in lightning encounters provoked by the knowledge of the presence of the press he ordered the collection of the mobile phones of the members of the committee representing the communities. “We did it simply so there was no bad use. Before we went to the meeting we had a lot of information, as the environment seemed tense, we decided to collect the mobile phones to a place under guard of the authorities “.
In a document dated April 14, 2016, the Ministry of Land, Environment and Rural Development confirms that the land in conflict was allocated under case number 1193/1930, and the conflict covers a total area of 9730 hectares, provisionally authorized in 2007 in favor of the Xinavane Sugar Company. The same area would be resized to 3385 hectares, upon final authorization, confirmed the actual occupation.
The DUAT was processed on the basis of the old Land Law, but would only be authorized when the current law was in effect.
MITADER has declared itself incompetent to go beyond the simple appeal to the representative committee of the communities “to consider mechanisms that may contribute to the resolution of the litigation, in order to strike a balance between the interests of the injured community and the company.”
On the other hand, the Maputo Provincial Attorney concludes, in an opinion signed by the Prosecutor Jorge Chivinge, that the DUAT of the company was legally authorized, although it took many years in process, which also led to the emergence of this conflict.
“The current DUAT acquisition regime contains a strong participation of communities and local authorities, as well as a strong advertising component intrinsic to the process. On this basis, we understand that, since the process was interrupted for some time, and dragged until the new law and its regulations were in force, it was advisable and prudent for the process to go through the new formalities imposed by the new regime”, says the Maputo Prosecutor.
On the other hand, the Government of the Maputo Province, asked to comment on the prevailing conflict, opted to subscribe to the positions of the Provincial Attorney and the National Directorate of Land.