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.***

Zim slammed for ‘selective’ commitment to investment protection

Zim slammed for ‘selective’ commitment to investment protection

By Alex Bell
01 November 2012

Zimbabwe’s government is being criticised for selectively honouring trade 
and investment agreements with other countries, with warnings that this 
practice is scaring off any further investment.

The comments were made Thursday by the President of the Commercial Farmers 
Union (CFU), Charles Taffs, who urged the government to honour all trade 

Taffs was reacting to statements by Zimbabwe’s Foreign Affairs Minister 
Simbarashe Mumbengegwi who said this week that the investments of South 
African citizens in Zimbabwe will be protected.

“There is no doubt regarding this country’s economic interests in Zimbabwe. 
They are and will remain protected,” Mumbengegwi told reporters after talks 
with his South African counterpart Maite Nkoana-Mashabane on Tuesday.

Mumbengegwi was understood to be in South Africa as part of on-going 
attempts to secure a multi million dollar loan from the neighbouring ANC 
government. The main opposition party in South Africa has urged the 
government not to extend the US$100 million loan to Zimbabwe, fearing the 
money may be diverted by ZANU PF for use in a terror campaign against any 
opposition ahead of elections. Observers have now said that these latest 
‘commitments’ to South African investment being voiced by Zimbabwe are 
purely linked to attempts to secure this loan.

The CFU’s Taffs meanwhile said any commitment to protecting foreign 
investment is welcome, but only if the commitments are not “selective”. He 
said that dozens of South African citizens have lost land and property as 
part of the land grab campaign, with no interference from government.

Most recently, South African born Dirk Visagie and his wife Heidi were 
forced to pack up their belongings and leave their Chegutu farm last month 
after Dirk was found guilty of remaining on the property. The ruling ended a 
decade long fight to remain on his farm that he bought from a government 
parastatal 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 

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. Madavanhu 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. A prolonged 
court battle followed, ending last month with the Visagies being evicted 
from their home.

There has been no word form the South African authorities about the campaign 
against the Visagies, despite the bilateral investment protection agreement 
between the two countries.

“If you’re going to respect investment then you need to respect all 
investment or else you’re simply not going to get any new investors. 
External investors will not feel secure about coming to Zimbabwe if there is 
selective application of the protection agreements,” Taffs said.

The South African farmers are not the only foreign citizens who have 
suffered from Zimbabwe’s refusal to honour trade agreements. Farmers from 
the Netherlands and Germany and other countries have all lost their 
properties as part of the land grab, despite investment agreement that 
existed between the two countries.


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