Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

***The views expressed in the articles published on this website DO NOT necessarily express the views of the Commercial Farmers' Union.***

Anger over ‘unjust’ eviction of Chegutu farmer

Anger over ‘unjust’ eviction of Chegutu farmer

By Alex Bell
03 October 2012

There is growing anger over the court ordered eviction of a farming family 
in Chegutu, with criticism being aimed at the courts for the unjust decision 
that forced the family to leave their home.

Dirk and Heidi Visagie are said to be in a state of shock after packing up 
all their belongings and leaving their Wantage Farm over the weekend, 
complying with a court order to leave.

Dirk was found guilty by a Chegutu magistrate in August, ending a decade 
long fight to remain on his farm that he bought from a Government parastatal 
back in 2001. Back then, he received a ‘certificate of no interest’ from the 
Lands Ministry because the property was considered ‘peri-urban’ and not one 
Gazetted under the Lands Act for seizure under the land grab campaign.

But about a month later a local official called Timothy Madavanhu, the 
chairman of the rural district council, arrived to claim Visagie’s property 
as part of the land grab. This was despite the fact that the offer letter 
Madavanhu received from the Land’s Ministry was not for Wantage farm.

Madavanhu insisted the Visagie property was the one he wanted and he soon 
initiated a campaign of harassment and intimidation that included moving 
hired thugs onto the property, breaking into the Visagie family home and 
lighting raging veld fires.

In 2007 Visagie was criminally charged for illegally occupying his home but 
the charges were eventually withdrawn after he pleaded not guilty. The 
intimidation continued over the following years and in January 2011 Visagie 
was again criminally charged for illegally occupying State land “without 

Visagie was found guilty, along with farmer Andrew Ferreira, a former 
Zimbabwe Tobacco Association president. The pair are the last of 15 farmers 
in the district who were meant to be protected by a landmark ruling in the 
regional human rights Tribunal in 2008. The SADC court ruled that the land 
grab campaign was unlawful and ordered the then ZANU PF government to 
protect the remaining farmers. This never happened. Instead the court was 
suspended by SADC leaders almost two years ago in what was widely regarded 
as a clear sign of loyalty to Robert Mugabe.

Family friend and former Chegutu farmer Ben Freeth has blasted the eviction 
of the Visagie family as “racist” and a “terrible injustice.” Freeth told SW 
Radio Africa that the Visagie’s only crime was remaining in their home.

“They are in a state of trauma over it all, mainly because of the injustice 
of it and because it is just accepted as normal in Zimbabwe,” Freeth said.

He added: “Everyone just allows it to happen and we are so used to this 
injustice that it is considered normal.”

The successful eviction of the Viasgie family comes as a group of farmers in 
Mashonaland Central have also been ordered to vacate their properties, to 
make way for the holders of ‘offer letters’. The Commercial Farmers Union 
has warned that this renewed campaign to remove white commercial is 
happening country wide. 


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