Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Zim to pay partial compensation to white ex-farmers

Zimbabwe next month will start paying partial compensation to white commercial farmers whose properties were seized nearly 20 years ago under Robert Mugabe’s land reforms, the government said Monday.

In a statement, the finance and agriculture ministries said they had budgeted 53-million Zimbabwean dollars ($18-million) in payments to “former farm owners affected by the land reform programme and who are in financial distress.”

READ MORE: Zim need $40m to compensate white farmers

More than 4 000 of the country’s 4 500 white farmers were stripped of their land under former president Mugabe’s highly controversial land seizures.

Mugabe justified the land grabs as a way to correct colonial-era land ownership disparities that had favoured whites and to stimulate economic growth for black Zimbabweans.

Critics blame the evictions for a collapse in agricultural production that forced Africa’s one-time bread basket to become dependent on imported food to feed its population.

Economic output fell by half following the land seizures which started in 2000 and the country’s economy has struggled since then.

The compensation will only be paid for improvements the former farm owners made to the land. It will not be paid for loss of the land itself.

The organisation representing the farmers welcomed the government’s move.

“This is a huge step by government in acknowledging that compensation is owed by them, that the delay has caused hardship and that they are now in a hurry to deal with this not only with this interim payment but also to agree on a global figure for improvements,” the Commercial Farmers Union said in a statement.

It added that since “this is a limited fund, it is hoped that those who are not in financial distress do not take up the offer so as to maximise the effect on those not so fortunate”.

The government’s decision came after it carried out a valuation exercise of farm improvements.

The survey is expected to be completed by end of this month.

“The registration process and the list of farmers should be completed by the end of April after which interim advance payments will be paid directly to the former farm owners,” the statement said.

“The completion of the work … will enable the government and the former farm owners to progress towards closure of the land issue.”

A former close ally of Mugabe, President Emmerson Mnangagwa has vowed to revive the country’s economy by lifting agricultural production and attracting foreign investment.

Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

Agency
External source

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Subscribers only

Fears of violence persist a year after the murder of...

The court battle to stop coal mining in rural KwaZulu-Natal has heightened the sense of danger among environmental activists

Data shows EFF has lower negative sentiment online among voters...

The EFF has a stronger online presence than the ANC and Democratic Alliance

More top stories

Constitutional court confirms warrantless searches in cordoned off areas unconstitutional

The law was challenged in response to raids in inner Johannesburg seemingly targeting illegal immigrants and the highest court has pronounced itself 10 days before an election in which then mayor Herman Mashaba has campaigned on an anti-foreigner ticket

A blunt Mantashe makes no promises during election campaigning

ANC chairperson Gwede Mantashe told people in Daveyton to stop expecting handouts from the government

Mbeki: Social compact the answer to promises made in ANC...

Former president Thabo Mbeki urged business and government and society to work together to tackle issues such as poverty, unemployment and poor services and infrastructure

South Africa needs to make pension system more inclusive, study...

South Africa’s pension system is ranked 31st out of 43 countries, receiving a C-grade which indicates major risks and shortcomings that should be addressed
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×