A quitrent was a payment for a distinct right to exploit a land, not being the owner. It was used in the British Colonies from the 19th Century right through to the 20th Century. The 1894 British South Africa Company (B.S.A.C.) Surveyor’s Regulations repeated those of the Cape Act No.3 of 1864.

Annual quitrent was as followed:

  • Pioneer Grants of 1,500 morgen – £1
  • Grants to Police per 100 morgen – 4/-
  • Grants to Matabeleland Volunteer Farms of 3000 morgen – 10/-

To each quitrent receipt, a stamp duty was attached per the table below.

Land SizeStamp Duty
Where the land does not exceed 5 morgen.3d
Exceeding 5 but not 10 morgen.6d
Exceeding 10 but not 50 morgen.1/-
Exceeding 50 but not 100 morgen.2/-
Exceeding 100 but not 500 morgen.5/-
Exceeding 500 morgen.7/6d

All land (except urban sites which were freehold) were subject to quitrent. Land purchased by instalment, known as Permit of Occupation, had no quitrent payable until all instalments had been paid and the title granted. At such time, the annual quitrent was 1/- per 25 morgen or portion thereof.

The Licenses and Stamp Ordinance No.6 of 1901 increased the quitrent so that land between 100 and 3,000 morgen attracted a £4 quitrent, and an additional amount of £1 per 1000 morgen or portion thereof was payable. The stamp duty for lands between 100 and 500 morgent was reduced to 4/-.

In addition to these changes, a single receipt was also permitted where quitrent was paid for more than a year if the correct stamp duty for all years was applied.

The quitrent was originally collected by the Civil Commissioner’s Office until 1908 when their Commercial Branch was established. When Southern Rhodesia was established in 1923, the Department of Land and Department of Agriculture became responsible for managing quitrents.

Quitrent was abolished by the Abolition of Quitrent Act No.27 of 1935 with effect from 31st December, 1934.

British South Africa Company
Southern Rhodesia


  • The Journal of the Rhodesian Study Circle No.146
  • The Journal of the Rhodesian Study Circle No.164
  • Mike Hughes
  • Gunnar Strehmel
  • Mark Loomis
  • Simon Peetoom