Zimbabwe says foreign white farmers can apply to get back seized land

accreditation
0:00
play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Zimbabwean Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube.
Zimbabwean Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube.
Jekesai Njikizana, AFP
  • Zimbabwe has announced that farmers may be able to get land back.
  • Foreign farmers whose land was seized may reapply to get the land back.
  • But in some cases, returning the land be prove difficult.


Foreign white farmers settled in Zimbabwe whose land was seized under Robert Mugabe can apply to get it back and will be offered land elsewhere if restitution proves impractical, the government said on Monday.

Last month, Zimbabwe agreed to pay $3.5 billion in compensation to local white farmers whose land was forcibly taken by the government to resettle Black families, moving a step closer to resolving one the most divisive policies of the Robert Mugabe era.

READ | Can it work? Zimbabwe's US$3.5bn land reform compensation plan explained

Under Zimbabwean laws passed during a short period of opposition government but ignored by Mugabe, foreign white farmers protected by treaties between their governments and Zimbabwe should be compensated for both land and other assets.

In that regard, Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube and Lands and Agriculture Minister Anxious Masuka said in a joint statement that these farmers should apply for their land back.

That means, in some instances the government would "revoke the offer letters of resettled (Black) farmers currently occupying those pieces of land and offer them alternative land elsewhere", the ministers said.

Practically and politically difficult

But removing the black beneficiaries from the land could prove practically and politically difficult.

"Where the situation presently obtaining on the ground makes it impractical to restore land in this category to its former owners, government will offer the former farm owners alternative land elsewhere as restitution where such land is available," the statement said.

The ministers said other white farmers whose land had been earmarked for acquisition by the government but were still on the properties, can apply to lease the land for 99 years, just like their black counterparts.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said the land reform could not be reversed but paying of compensation was key to mending ties with the West.

The programme still divides public opinion in Zimbabwe, where the number of white farmers has dropped to just over 200 from 4 500 when land reforms began 20 years ago, according to the predominantly white commercial farmers union.

Opponents see the reforms as a partisan process that left the country struggling to feed itself, but its supporters say it has empowered landless black people.

Do you want to know more about this topic? Sign up for one of News24's 33 newsletters to receive the information you want in your inbox. Special newsletters are available to subscribers.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Nappies, they cost too much
7% - 120 votes
Formula and food, it's getting so expensive
19% - 352 votes
Creche and school fees are a struggle every month
74% - 1359 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
16.22
-0.3%
Rand - Pound
19.84
-0.3%
Rand - Euro
16.93
-0.8%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.22
-0.2%
Rand - Yen
0.13
-0.5%
Gold
1,797.86
-0.8%
Silver
21.08
-0.2%
Palladium
1,932.50
-0.8%
Platinum
938.00
-0.7%
Brent Crude
111.22
+3.4%
Top 40
62,290
+0.5%
All Share
68,973
+0.5%
Resource 10
71,456
+1.0%
Industrial 25
77,054
+0.0%
Financial 15
15,853
+0.8%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE