War veterans have said farmworkers who lost their jobs when the government seized farms owned by white farmers during the fast track land reform have to be compensated.
This comes when the government has agreed to raise US$3.5 billion to compensate the farmers whose farms were taken for redistribution to landless blacks.
It is estimated that about 320 000 workers, approximately 25% of the country’s workforce then, lost their jobs during the farm invasions at the turn of the millennium.
Former Zipra veteran Maxwell Vuma Mkandla said the former farm workers also deserved to be compensated. He said:
When the land invasion started, most of them lost their property and their jobs and since then, some of them have not even recovered from the effects of the process because some had no rural homes and they lived in farm compounds.
Human rights defender Effie Ncube told NewsDay that the former farmworkers were not considered for compensation because the Zanu PF government “does not care about workers.”
The government’s decision to compensate white farmers sparked controversy in the country. Some say it is the only possible way to address the sensitive issue while some are saying the move is a reversal of the gains of the liberation struggles.
Authorities, however, say compensation is for improvements which farmers made at the farms, not for the land itself.