Zimbabwe has pushed forward the deadline by a year to pay the initial US$1.75bn compensation to white former commercial farmers.
Harare has reportedly failed to get financial support from development partners and international financiers to fund the payments to the former farmers.
Last year President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration tabled a US$3.5bn offer to former commercial white farmers as restitution for assets expropriated by the State during the land reform programme done more than 20 years.
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Of that amount, US$1.75bn was supposed to be paid next month while the balance would be paid in instalments of US$437.5m per year for the next four years. This has not materialised.
In an interview with Business Times on Wednesday, Commercial Farmers Union of Zimbabwe (CFU) president, Andrew Pascoe revealed that a new deal has since been signed. Said, Pascoe:
Given the circumstances on the ground, we have agreed with the government to roll over the first payment by July next year.
At least 4 000 white farmers were forcibly evicted from farms during the land redistribution programme in the early 2000s.
The CFU executive said those that have been paid should notify the organisation so that others get paid. It said:
When you get paid, please, it is very important that you notify Valcon or CFU. Failure to do this would prejudice others who have not yet been paid.
This is because we need to accurately reconcile those who have and have not yet been paid.
Meanwhile, there are pockets of ex-farmers who were now demanding their land back instead of financial compensation.
In the latest CFU bulletin, a document that is circulated to members, various ex-commercial farmers were demanding their land back. It said:
We have received the requested document from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs covering South African citizens who own property in Zimbabwe.
A legal team is currently examining this. If you want to make an application for either the return of, or for compensation for your farms through the SA BIPPA or SI62 of 2020 this should be done through CFU and not the Embassy – at their request.
In cases where the farms are fully resettled then alternative land may be offered. However, at the moment we are rather recommending that we watch how the applications, which have already been submitted, will be dealt with before encouraging more to be submitted.