Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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SADC opposed Zim land grabs-Mbeki

SADC opposed Zim land grabs-Mbeki

November 16, 2012 in News

SADC leaders were opposed to the chaotic “revolutionary” land grabs by 
President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF-sponsored war veterans which displaced 
thousands of white commercial farmers and workers, preferring an orderly 
reform process, former South African president Thabo Mbeki has revealed.

Report by Brian Chitemba

Addressing delegates to the Zimbabwe Diamond Conference in Victoria Falls on 
Monday, Mbeki said Sadc leaders argued at length with Mugabe over the 
violent land seizures which were “strategically and tactically ill-advised”.

Sadc leaders, Mbeki said, wanted Zimbabwe to respect market-based 
compensation of land owners for improvements on the seized farms.

“We were convinced and argued this with President Mugabe that, rather, 
Zimbabwe should indeed confront the matter of the land question, but address 
it through a process of reform rather than through revolutionary means,” 
said Mbeki.

“We understood very well that the process of the reform rather than the 
revolutionary transformation of the inherited colonial system of land 
ownership meant the Zimbabwe government and people would have to respect the 
principle of market-based compensation of land owners for improvements on 
the farms they would have to forfeit.”

Mbeki said despite criticism of the land reform programme, fundamentally, it 
corrected the historical imbalance although the process remained 

He also attacked the West for failing to provide funds to compensate white 
farmers even though it promised to do so in 1979 in London, and in 1998 in 
Harare. After the land reform chaos, Zimbabwe plunged into a basket case as 
the country’s new inexperienced and poorly-funded farmers failed to produce 
enough food.

Mbeki said regional leaders had hoped the agrarian reform would address food 
shortages, poverty and help foster economic recovery.
“This arose because of both our concern for the welfare of the sister people 
of this country and our knowledge of the level of regional integration, as a 
result of which our countries could not isolate themselves from important 
developments in this country and vice versa,” he said.

Mbeki emphasised the need to upgrade rural infrastructure, intensify 
agricultural extension services, provide the necessary credit lines to 
enable new farmers to access farming equipment, fertilisers and create ready 
markets for produce. Most new farmers are still struggling to produce a 
decade after getting the land while others own multiple farms contrary to 
government policy.


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