Gvt clarifies compensation of former white farmers

By Rungano Dzikira

The Ministry of Finance And Economic Development has clarified Government’s standpoint on compensation of former white farmers, setting the record straight that they were being compensated for developments/improvements made on the land, and NOT for repositioning of the farms.

This follows misinformation by most foreign media outlets – stating that former white farmers were being compensated for land repossessing and distribution to the indigenes. Government has therefore elucidated that compensation for the improvements was being earmarked ONLY on compulsorily acquired agricultural land, in accordance to the laws of the land.

According to the Communique on the agreement between the Government of Zimbabwe and former farm owners, as detailed in the Global Compensation Deed for improvements on farms compulsorily acquired for resettlement during the land reform programme, Government agreed to pay US$3.5billion.

In a statement, the Ministry of Finance, which is also chairing the Joint Resource Mobilisation Committee set to raise the agreed amount said that this was being conducted in accordance to the Zimbabwean Constitution.

“The Constitution sets out the circumstances under which Zimbabwe will pay compensation in respect of compulsory acquisition of agricultural land. In particular, section 72 (3) provides for the payment of compensation for improvements only on compulsorily acquired agricultural land.

“Section 295 provides for payment of compensation for compulsory acquisition of agricultural land and any person, other than a person referred to in subsection (1) or (2) of that section, whose agricultural land was acquired by the State before 22 August 2013 is entitled to compensation from the State only for improvements that were on the land when it was acquired,” read the statement.

Funds for this exercise will be raised largely in the international capital markets through USD denominated long term debt instruments as well as other suitable non debt-instruments and financing structures.

The Finance Minister, Professor Mthuli Ncube said that the signing of the Global Compensation Deed (Agreement) last Wednesday (29 July 2020) was in compliance with the Constitution and Government’s respect for the rule of law.

“It is also a reflection of the Second Republic’s political commitment to the successful conclusion of the land redistribution process in a dignified manner that restores the integrity and dignity of all the people of Zimbabwe who were affected by the necessary land reforms,” he said.

This bold move cements, President Mnangagwa’s earlier pledge in 2017, when he ascended to power - to bring finality to the land question.  He affirmed that the principle of repossessing land could not be challenged or reversed, but assured compensation for improvements done on the land.