The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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Daily News

      Why are you persecuting Coltart, Mr President?

      9/27/02 10:02:26 PM (GMT +2)

      It is disappointing, Mr President, that you now use race as a basis
for attacking people like Coltart. I recall how shortly after independence
in 1980 you called on all Zimbabweans in the diaspora, Coltart included, to
return to Zimbabwe to contribute to building a truly non-racial society
based on equality.

      Have you changed your mind, Mr President? Is Zimbabwe now only for
blacks? How does that compare with the apartheid regime of Ian Smith? As a
young lawyer then recently graduated from university in 1994, I found
Coltart encouraging and inspirational. He nurtured my own interest in human
rights and accountability of perpetrators of human rights abuse - a field in
which I am now heavily involved in East Timor and hope to be involved one
day in my own country. Now Coltart finds himself, together with other
leaders of the opposition as well as its supporters, on the receiving end of
your government's wrath simply for holding opinions different from the

      He and Bennet are dutiful citizens exercising not only their
constitutionally protected right to freedom of speech, but also their
parliamentary mandate on behalf of their constituents. To allege that
Coltart is the puppet master of the opposition MPs is to belittle the
institution of Parliament, which is a cornerstone of our democratic
heritage, as well as to insult our intelligence. I recall, Mr President, how
you branded Sidney Malunga, the late Lazarus Nzarayebani, Margaret Dongo and
the late Byron Hove as rebels for their fearless debate and critical views
of issues in the House of Assembly and their criticism of government policy.
Is this a case of deja vu? Once upon a time when you were Prime Minister you
used to face MPs during question time and tackle criticisms head-on.

      Now it seems that the exercise of one of the most fundamental
democratic functions (parliamentary representation) causes discomfiture to
your government. It is a most sad state of affairs, Mr President, when in
life the government hunts down those of its own citizens who fight for
equality, democracy and human rights and later extols them in death. I say
this of Sidney Malunga. I find it ironic that you attack the virtue and
integrity of the one person, who, when you had Malunga cornered, rose to the
challenge and refused to allow your government to finish him off. Next time
you speak of Malunga as the hero of heroes as you have described him, the
voice of the voiceless, a fearless debater in Parliament, please, Mr
President, remember that were it not for people like Coltart, Malunga may
not have been able to be all these things and that he did all this despite
the government harassing him.

      As the son of this hero, a human rights lawyer and an accountability
advocate, I, therefore, urge you to retract your criticisms and desist from
further making them. Finally, Mr President, I wish to express my concern
about the general state of affairs in Zimbabwe which, I am certain, has been
caused by your government. The validity of the presidential election remains
an issue which must be resolved; over six million people face starvation and
food aid is reportedly being denied to opposition supporters; the law is
being applied selectively against opposition members or government
opponents; the Judiciary is constantly under attack from the Executive for
exercising its democratic and constitutionally protected independence, your
government has constantly encroached on this independence; your party, Zanu
PF, is reportedly torturing opposition supporters; and the government
continues its onslaught on Press freedom.

      This is indeed a sad state of affairs and one which you are
constitutionally obliged to redress. I recommend that your government take
the following measures as a matter of urgency: n Call a fresh presidential
election, ensure that food aid is distributed to all who need it regardless
of political affiliation;
      · Repeal the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act which
violates the freedom of the Press;
      · Repeal the Public Order and Security Act which is the worst
encroachment on constitutionally guaranteed civil liberties in Zimbabwe;
      · Assure the safety and protection of all citizens and allow them to
exercise their fundamental rights without interference;
      · Not only comply with decisions of the courts, but also enforce them
in order to maintain the greatest respect for the Judiciary; and bring to
justice known perpetrators of human rights violations in Zimbabwe without
further delay.

      I thank you for taking the time to read my letter and pledge myself to
participate in the process of bringing known violators of human rights to
justice, should your government commence this process.
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 27 September 2002

 U.S. Condemns Fearful Environment in Pre-election Zimbabwe

(State Dept.'s Boucher says "environment of fear and intimidation" exists)

The United States condemns the environment of fear and intimidation in
Zimbabwe in the run-up to nationwide local elections scheduled for
September 28 and 29, according to a September 27 statement by State
Department Spokesman Richard Boucher.

"The government of Zimbabwe has not taken the necessary steps to
ensure conditions for a credible democratic election …," Boucher said.
"Given these circumstances, the outlook for free and fair local
elections in Zimbabwe is dismal."

Following is the text of Boucher's statement:

Office of the Spokesman
September 27, 2002


Zimbabwe: Nationwide Local Elections

The United States condemns the environment of fear and intimidation in
Zimbabwe in the run-up to nationwide local elections in Zimbabwe
scheduled for September 28 and 29. Violence and harassment have been
directed predominantly against supporters and potential candidates of
the opposition Movement for Democratic Change. Opposition candidates
have been subjected to intimidating, onerous, and unfair nomination
requirements. As a result, opposition candidates are running in fewer
than half of the 1,400 contested seats.

Independent observers, including international and non-government
organizations, have expressed concern about reports of violence and
election irregularities and the threats these pose to credible
democratic elections.

The Government of Zimbabwe has not taken the necessary steps to ensure
conditions for a credible democratic election. It has failed to ensure
that all parties and candidates are able to participate, to condemn
and punish election-related violence and intimidation, and to follow
timely, transparent, and equitable registration procedures for all
candidates. Given these circumstances, the outlook for free and fair
local elections in Zimbabwe is dismal.

(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site:
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Mugabe confines envoys to Harare

Andrew Meldrum in Harare
Saturday September 28, 2002
The Guardian

The Mugabe government has escalated its confrontation with London by telling
British diplomats in Harare they cannot travel outside the capital without
"We were informed that all British diplomats should stay within Harare city
limits," one envoy said yesterday. "If we want to travel anywhere else in
the country we were instructed to seek permission from the ministry of
foreign affairs."

The British diplomats say they have refused to curtail their movements
across the country, which they view as essential to their duties.

They say that they have not sought permission to travel but have merely
"informed" Zimbabwean officials of their itineraries.

The effort to restrict the movements of the British diplomats is the latest
salvo in Zimbabwe's campaign against the Blair government. The British high
commissioner in Harare, Brian Donnelly, has been accused of fomenting
insurrection against the Mugabe government. Earlier this year Zimbabwe
announced that it had placed him under surveillance.

The latest move comes amid efforts by British diplomats to ensure that
international food aid is fairly distributed.

There have been reports that the Mugabe government has denied food aid to
people suspected of supporting the opposition party, the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC).

Foreign diplomats have also been touring Zimbabwe to monitor council
elections. More than half of the MDC candidates have reportedly been forced
to drop out by violence or threats against them.

No other diplomats have had their movements restricted, but European Union
envoys are worried that they too may be targeted in retaliation for EU

"This is yet another attempt by Mugabe to deflect attention from his misrule
and consequent famine. It could make it more difficult for British diplomats
to ensure proper delivery of food aid," said Iden Wetherell, the editor of
the Zimbabwe Independent.
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Farm Invasions And Security Report
Friday 27 September 2002

This report does not purport to cover all the incidents that are taking place in the commercial farming areas. Communication problems and the fear of reprisals prevent farmers from reporting all that happens. Farmers names, and in some cases farm names, are omitted to minimise the risk of reprisals.



Chimanimani - The CIO visited Charleswood Estates and arrested six people, including one visitor, on 24.09.02. They were arrested but all released in the evening. It was claimed that the owner of Charleswood was trying to settle the farm with his own people.

The rest of Manicaland is quiet.

No report received.


Beatrice – on 25.09.02, in the early hours of the morning, a couple from Beatrice were tied up and severely assaulted. The wife has been admitted to hospital and has a broken leg. The husband was treated for shock and later discharged. The safe was opened and items were stolen. The Police were notified at 0300 hrs but only arrived on the scene at 0600 hrs. On 21.09.02 another farmer was also assaulted. He was treated by the local medics for shock, bruising and abrasions. One farmer reported that settlers from one farm came and started fires on her farm.

Harare South - Pressure is increasing on farmers to pay out the full SI6 package. Farmers are being barricaded into their homes and labour is striking. One farmer had farm equipment, which included irrigation pipes, impounded by the police and the equipment taken to Chitungwiza. He was told no equipment was to leave the farm unless it was first valued and offered to the settlers.


Tengwe Estates received a judgement on 07.08.02 declaring the preliminary Notice of Acquisition and all subsequent actions in the acquisition process declared null and void and of no legal effect. The police attempted to arrest the owner on 18.08.02, but he managed to talk his way out of the arrest. The owner presented himself to Karoi Police Station on 21.08.02 to show them the High Court ruling. He was released. On 06.09.02 a police detail gave him a verbal eviction order to be off the farm by 1400 hrs on 06.09.02, threatening anything left on the farm would then become State property, including 70,000 kg of tobacco stored in the sheds. On 07.09.02 the labour went on strike, citing threats of beatings by the police. On 10.09.02 at 13.30 two vehicles with about 10 people arrived. Their spokesman introduced himself as Major Patrick Maponga and issued the owner with an eviction order giving him until 1800 hrs evening to vacate, stating this was the third and final order and was exceptionally threatening. From 12-17.09.02 (6 days) the owner and his family were barricaded in and subjected to all types of abuse and attempted extortion. On 16.09.02 at around 13.30 the mob turned off all water and electricity to the house. The barricade ended with the assistance of Tengwe FA chairman, and Member-in-Charge Tengwe, Mutarofa. That afternoon, a police detail from Tengwe, together with a delegation of ZANU-PF personnel arrived and appointed some of the labour to guard the homestead and barn area. The owner has not been allowed to return to the farm and told his return is dependent on paying retrenchment packages. the owner has held only one tobacco sale this season and almost the entire crop is sitting in the shed waiting to be sold. There is a herd of 60 hand reared Sable as well as 25 Wildebeest and 8 zebra on the farm and an unconfirmed report states the "war vets" are starting to slaughter the game.


Chakari: On 22.09.02 at Chevy Chase farm the owner’s lorry collected the month’s maize allocation - authorised by the authorities - for his pigs and labour from GMB. His lorry was followed back to the farm and at about midnight approx 100 people congregated outside and began dancing etc. The Police were called, who then accused him of hoarding maize. he produced receipts showing it was bought and collected that day. Later the "war vets" demanded to know why he didn't slaughter the pigs, give them the meat and sell them the maize as there were people dying of hunger. A member of parliament, Mr. Ziyambi arrived on 24.09.02 and "took" all the maize and sold it to the "war vets". The farmer is now left with no maize for the pigs. A few of his braver employees joined the queue and got a bag here and there.


Masvingo East and Central - Nothing to report.

Chiredzi – farmer A reported continued threats and harassment over retrenchment packages.

Mwenezi - Poaching remains excessive. Farmer B reports they are losing one giraffe daily. Veld fires have also been reported as well as continued wire theft. Farmer C had 100 cows and 94 weaners stopped from grazing by settlers over the last weekend. Owner contacted the Police who did not want to respond saying the matter was political. Settlers drove five of Farmer D’s cows off the property on the weekend. Farmer E has been under continued pressure from settlers who have made demands that he vacate his property. Settlers have also been driving owner’s cattle into his premises. Farmer F had 5 cows and five calves stolen three weeks ago, which have not been recovered. Farmer G reports settlers on this property have slaughtered another cow.

Save Conservancy - Poaching and snaring continue. Farmer H’s manager reports of problems with labour over wage payment.

Gutu / Chatsworth – Farmer L reported that individuals arrived on his property on 24.09.02, making demands he vacate the neighbouring homestead of all its possessions, as they wanted to move in by evening. his wife was threatened and told she should have the keys ready by the evening otherwise she would witness what they would do to her homestead. Police in Masvingo and Police at Chatsworth were informed. They reacted late in the evening and arrested three of the culprits.


A very elderly couple were attacked in their homestead on the night of 22.09.02 in the Shurugwi area. They were tied up and gagged while the house was ransacked for linen, blankets and clothing. They have now recovered from the experience. Stock theft continues unabated. In one case, in the Lower Gweru area, a heifer belonging to an employee was taken and, when the thieves were tracked down, they were very apologetic as they thought the heifer belonged to the white farmer. Poaching also continues on a large scale and gold panners continue to present a major problem.


Nyamandhlovu - On 21.09.02 "war vets" moved the farmer’s cattle, saying the cattle were damaging their properties. The farmer went to investigate and his vehicle was stoned. His game scout was hit on the head with a rock. The pump boys were also chased away. The farmer and game scout went to the police to make a statement and the police refused to take a statement from the farmer, saying they needed permission from the OIC. They did however take one from the game scout.

Nothing else to report. Visit the CFU Website


Unless specifically stated that this is a Commercial Farmers' Union communique, or that it is being issued or forwarded to you by the sender in an official CFU capacity, the opinions contained therein are private. Private messages also include those sent on behalf of any organisation not directly affiliated to the Union. The CFU does not accept any legal responsibility for private messages and opinions held by the sender and transmitted over its local area network to other CFU network users and/or to external addressees.

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Peoples' Daily

Chinese Entrepreneurs Ready to Invest in African Farming Sector

While some Chinese farmers rack their brains to get their corn, beans and milk sold, a Chinese-funded farm in Zambia, in remote Africa, sold everything the farm produced and is expected to make a profit of 600,000 US dollars this year.
While some Chinese farmers rack their brains to get their corn, beans and milk sold, a Chinese-funded farm in Zambia, in remote Africa, sold everything the farm produced and is expected to make a profit of 600,000 US dollars this year.

The Zhongken Farm, established near Lusaka with an investment of 220,000 US dollars in 1994, sold a total of two million chickens, 1,000 heads of beef cattle, 6,000 pigs and 1.80 million liters of milk by the end of 2001. It was one the most successful stories of Chinese investment in the African agricultural sector.

"We are proof that Africa is a top option when we are about to invest in the agricultural sector abroad," said Han Xiangshan, deputy general manager of the China State Farms Agribusiness Corporation, owner of Zhongken Farm, summing up the company's experience in Africa at a seminar on Friday.

"We can make great profits through investing in the farming sector and processing farm produce," he told about 60 Chinese entrepreneurs attending the China-Africa Agricultural Investment and Cooperation Seminar, which wrapped up Friday.

Agriculture is one of China's greatest concerns following its accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO). Many Chinese officials and farmers thought of investing in Africa when they were considering ways to cope with the challenges brought about bythe WTO entry.

The entrepreneurs attending the two-day seminar hailed from 15 provincial localities of China. They were briefed about the basic conditions in Africa and about China's incentive policy for investing in Africa by vice-ministers from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation (MOFTEC) and Agriculture.

Han, along with other businessmen who have invested in Africa'sfarming sector, also shared their experiences with the entrepreneurs.

China and Africa have enjoyed traditional friendship. Beginningin the 1960s, China initiated a large number of cooperative agricultural projects in the Republic of the Congo, the DemocraticRepublic of Congo, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Tanzania, Togo and Uganda. Most were initially aid projects, however, agriculture cooperation has continued up to thepresent time.

Officials said, however, that agricultural cooperation in Africa has changed a great deal since the early days.

Most African countries are now politically and socially stable,and have listed agriculture as the top priority in poverty relief and economic development.

With respect to China's experience, it continues to successfully provide food for its nearly 1.3 billion citizens. China's agricultural experience, high-breed crop species, agricultural technology and equipment are wanted by many developing countries, according to the participants.

"China will make agricultural cooperation with Africa a key area of cooperation in the coming years," said Li Zhaoxing, vice-minister of Foreign Affairs. "We will take more pragmatic and effective measures to push forward the mutually beneficial cooperation."

The Ministry of Agriculture said many African countries are interested in cooperating with China in the areas of crop cultivation, vegetable and flower-growing, agro-tech promotion andtraining, irrigation systems, the raising of farm animals and aquaculture, the processing of farm produce and in providing engineering services for agricultural projects.

However, some experts said that agricultural cooperation with Africa in the coming years should be conducted in new ways and should be able to generate profits. Non-profitable cooperation cannot last long, they said.

Officials in charge of China's investment abroad supported thisposition.

"China-Africa agricultural cooperation in the new century must be conducted by enterprises and should be market-oriented," said Wei Jianguo, vice-minister of MOFTEC. "We encourage Chinese companies to invest in the farming sector in Africa through a variety of forms, including joint ventures, joint stock companies or solely-owned companies."

African diplomats in Beijing welcomed China's decision to strengthen agricultural cooperation with Africa.

Joseph Obiang-Ndoutoume, acting head of the African diplomatic mission in China and Ambassador of Gabon to China, said the development of agriculture is an important way to relieve poverty,and most African countries still need to do more to develop their agriculture. They hope to have more cooperation with China, he said.

Emmanuel Zinyuke, counselor of the Embassy of Zimbabwe in Beijing, said African countries will open their arms to Chinese agricultural investors. He said it will strengthen the ties between Africa and China.

Some Chinese agricultural investors in Africa, who have made profits are ready to expand their businesses. The Jiangsu Provincial State Farm Corporation, for instance, is ready to expand its business from Zambia to Zimbabwe, South Africa and Botswana in the coming two to three years.

"Ten years of experience in Africa has made me more confident about investing in Africa," said Wu Yuchao, deputy general managerof the Jiangsu Provincial State Farm Corporation, which began to invest in Zambia in 1990. "We are now capable of expanding our business in southeast Africa, and we are confident about our success."
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Sad final days for Zimbabwe vet as farmers have pets put down

By Peta Thornycroft in Harare
(Filed: 28/09/2002)

The destruction of the first of 650 former guard dogs will be the last task of veterinary surgeon Robert Gordon in his native Zimbabwe.

Dr Gordon, 42, is leaving for New Zealand on Monday, unable to take the strain of destroying family pets and horses any longer. For the past six months he has done little but put down the pets of fleeing white farmers.

"I worked in Cumbria last year during foot and mouth," he said yesterday. "This is worse. I have put down hundreds of family pets and hundreds of horses recently. Some families want to stay with their pets when I do it. Others can't take it, and leave first.

"I have nowhere to bury the animals as I was chased off my farm. So the farmers have to take the bodies away. Sometimes we put the horses down mine shafts.

"I respect farmers who decide they have a final obligation to their animals, and put them down. A woman asked me to come and shoot seven horses this week. I am glad she changed her mind."

The 650 dogs belonged to a security company in Banket, 50 miles north of Harare, which employed more than 400 farm guards but closed its doors yesterday because of political unrest.

The company, Tredar, had been guarding homes in the once prosperous grain belt around Banket, but since white farmers were evicted or fled in early August, they were protecting homes and agricultural equipment that had been abandoned. The first guard dog to be put down was a labrador, Wimpy, a young bitch, passed on to the company after her owners, also farmers, fled.

But Dr Gordon will only destroy the first 20 dogs. "We have been shooting the horses according to Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons' guidelines. I would rather use chemicals, but we haven't enough. We can't shoot dogs and cats and the few vets left in Zimbabwe are putting down pets at such a rate, we have run out of the chemicals."

The remaining dogs will be put down in batches when the chemicals arrive from South Africa, said Diana Hopcraft, who with her husband Paul owned the security company.

Dr Gordon wants no more to do with it. "I can't ask them to pay, it feels like blood money, paying the hangman. I just want to get on that plane, lie on a beach and hope I can stop taking medication for stress."

After putting down the first 20 dogs yesterday, Dr Gordon said: "I can't take it any more. There was a really wonderful friendly Alsatian that had to go. The names of the other dogs who went included Angel, Bonny, Foxie, Rocky and Nugget."

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Farmer wins battle of roses

By Peta Thornycroft in Harare
(Filed: 27/09/2002)

Zimbabwe's military supremo has been ordered to pay more than £100,000 in compensation for stealing a farmer's flowers.

Gen Constantine Chiwenga, commander of the Zimbabwean army, forced Roger Staunton off Hortico farm, 20 miles east of Harare, earlier this year.

Mr Staunton told the High Court in Harare that he had a confrontation with Gen Chiwenga's wife, Jocelyn, who told him that "she had not tasted white blood since 1980 [the year of Zimbabwe's independence] and missed the experience and that she needed just the slightest excuse to kill somebody.

"She ordered one of her guards to 'kill the white bastards'," he said. Millions of his roses were later exported to Amsterdam, the world's largest flower market, and his vegetables were sold.

Mr Staunton told the court that, like many desperate white farmers, he had given permission for his produce to be exported provided he was paid part of the proceeds but the Chiwengas and their associates failed to pay him.

The High Court issued a provisional order against the Chiwengas and their companies to produce bank statements to disclose proceeds from the sales.

They were ordered to repay £120,000 to Mr Staunton and barred from selling roses or vegetables from his properties until further notice.

Mr Staunton was in South Africa yesterday receiving treatment for heart problems.

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SA Farmers Attacked, Killed

The Herald (Harare) September 27, 2002
Posted to the web September 27, 2002
Fred Bridgland

A court case involving one of South Africa's most successful white farmers has stirred up growing fears among the 40 000 farmers that South Africa's future could well develop along the same lines as experienced in Zimbabwe in recent months.

Abraham Duvenage, who farms at Benoni, 30 miles east of Johannesburg, went to the Pretoria High Court to seek implementation of a year-old order to evict nearly 50 000 illegal squatters from his land.

The evictions were meant to be carried out by a Johannesburg sheriff, who has declined to act, arguing Mr Duvenage must pay him 1,8 million rand to hire a security company to do the work.

In his court application, Mr Duvenage has named President Thabo Mbeki and three of his ANC government ministers, the national police commissioner, Jackie Selebi and the local council, as respondents.

Agri South Africa, the farmers' umbrella organisation, points to wide and serious political implications in the case, which was postponed until November to allow lawyers time to prepare their arguments.

An Agri South Africa spokesman said the case comes against the background of Zimbabwe's land invasion and murder of white farmers. Killings of South Africa's farmers are running at more than 15 times the equivalent rate in Zimbabwe but go barely reported and militancy is quickly accelerating among landless blacks. Furthermore, a best-selling book Midlands by Jonny Steinberg shows that white farmers are being attacked and killed for political reasons, not as part of the worsening crime wave.

The mantra in the splendid malls, shops and restaurants in enclaves where whites and the new black elite spend money is; "What's happening in Zimbabwe can't happen here."

But the trend is well under way, said Steinberg, in his complex story of land appropriation and killings of white farmers in the Midlands area of KwaZulu-Natal province. Landless blacks are flying Zimbabwean flags in support of President Mugabe's policies and the Midlands story is being repeated across South Africa.

From January 2001 to April this year more than 1 400 armed attacks on white farms occurred, resulting in nearly 200 deaths of farmers and their families. In the previous five years some 700 farmers were killed.

In comparison, 11 white farmers were killed in the past 12 months in Zimbabwe. Steinberg began investigating the murder of Peter Mitchelle, (28) who farmed near the Midlands town of Sarahdale. He was shot dead in his Land Rover. His killers have not been brought to book. "In the district's kraals, where few whites had ever wandered, I discovered that three generations had kept alive their inherited memories of 1910," said Steinberg, "That was the year the chieftaincies of the district had large tracts of land confiscated (by the British rulers) in punishment for their participation in the unsuccessful Bambatha Rebellion of 1906.

"An old man told me matter-of-factly, 'This land was stolen from us. Ask anyone you meet and he will tell you the same'." Midlands describes how white farmers have been killed, wounded or driven away by Zulu peasants with long memories and resentments of baasskap (servitude to whites). Mr Mitchell's neighbour, Lourie Styen, an unsympathetic employer, was forced off his farm by landless peasants. "First, vast stretches of his fence came down during the night," Steinberg said.

"Then one grazing field after another was burnt. Hundreds of his prize cattle were stolen and slaughtered. There were death threats. His foreman was shot in the chest while watching TV one night. And then someone crept into Steyn's garden and took a shot at his son."

Alarmed by growing farm destabilisation, many groups have urged President Mbeki to speed up greatly his sluggish land reform programme.

Among the more surprising of these is the Afrikanerbond, successor to the Broederbond, the secret Afrikaner society that provided the intellectual underpinning of apartheid. The Afrikanerbond has made comprehensive proposals for more equitable distribution of land between blacks and whites.

"We want to empower disadvantaged (black) communities to engage in successful agriculture," said Tobie Meyer, the Afrikanerbond's land reform convener, who served in Nelson Mandela's post-1999 transitional government as deputy agriculture minister. "We argue in our paper that a new government strategy needs to be launched urgently to set up commercial partnerships between first-time black farmers and communities and established white commercial producers."

Mr Meyer said the Afrikanerbond argues that the new partnerships had to be reinforced by wide ranging support services. "These would include the transfer of our modern technologies, widespread training facilities, reasonably generous start-up finance, subsidised seeds, fertiliser chemicals in the early stages and much after-care and in-service training once the new farmers are established."

The Afrikanerbond said speedy restitutions of drawn-out land claims are needed, such as those in the Natal Midlands. The Afrikanerbond has also proposed a 1 per cent levy on imports to provide sufficient funds for farm reform, which it says would raise R1,2 billion a year.

While the former architects of apartheid wait for government decisions, they have begun their own land reform measures. One, near the beautiful town of Paarl, deep in the mountains behind Cape Town, involves helping and training 90 former ANC Umkhonto we Sizwe guerrilla fighters - who the Broederbond once pledged to eliminate - to establish their self-owned commercial farm. "The Umkhonto group leader, Deacon Mathe, is a fine man by any standards, and is now one of my closest friends," Mr Meyer said.

Mr Meyer, (63) a farmer, added: "It is one of South Africa's widest myths that black people can't farm. Given the right help and training, many of them can farm every bit as well as Afrikaners - and often even better."

Kobus Visser, spokesman for Agri South Africa, told The Scotsman that it had so far proved impossible to distinguish how many farm murders, attacks and land invasions were politically motivated and how many could be attributed to the current crime wave. "But it is a much more complex problem than simple crime, Mr Visser said.

"Farm squatting and occupations have become big problems. Farmers are complaining to us and we are trying to work something out." Japie Grobler, Agri South Africa's president, was much more blunt: "We cannot simply accept . . . these attacks are motivated by criminality."

Mr Globler said groups affiliated to Agri South Africa and targeted by land invaders and killers were victims of a concerted endeavour to push white agriculturalists off their land. He said it was a more covert operation than in Zimbabwe.

Werner Weber, chairman of Action: Stop Farm Attacks, a member of Agri South Africa, appealed to the government to acknowledge what lies at the root of the deaths. He said: "If this was a matter of mere criminality, why do these perpetrators wait for hours for farmers to return late at night, then torture the man and rape the woman, only then to kill the farmer?

"It is time the government admitted that farm attacks are not part of the normal criminal cycle. It is an orchestrated effort to intimidate farmers to share or leave their land." In South Africa's Limpopo province, bordering Zimbabwe, Joyce Lesiba warned that blacks who own only scraps of land might be forced to occupy white farms illegally.

Mrs Lesiba, who runs an agricultural training project for Limpopo's rural poor, added: "If the government does not move fast we may see Zimbabwe happening here, even though most of us don't really want to see that happen."

At the lake-dotted Lavalle Estate, in an exquisite mountain valley near Paarl in Cape Province, Mr Meyer introduced The Scotsman to black Xhosa and coloured (mixed race) workers who have been helped by the Afrikanerbond to acquire part-ownership of the finest olive farm in South Africa.

They have also been given rights to establish commercial fisheries in estate lakes and take all the profits for themselves. John Scrimgeour, from Skye, manager of the estate, said: "Together, the management and the workers have turned the old autocratic leadership into an inclusive co-operative partnership. We are a community, part-owned by workers who have security of tenure on their farm homes for life. Since they acquired shares, productivity has increased and farm profits have increased.

"It is basic. There's no magic to it. We must transform this country completely. But do we have enough time left? "We must do this on a really large scale across South Africa. Unless we do that, we will be in a Zimbabwe situation for sure."

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'We Can't Choose Our Neighbours'
 Mail & Guardian (Johannesburg)
September 27, 2002
Posted to the web September 27, 2002
 Paul Fauvet
 The Mozambican and Zimbabwean economies are closely linked -- instability in Harare is bad news for Maputo In August 1980, four months after Zimbabwean independence, Mozambican president Samora Machel made his first visit to the country.
At one of the rallies he addressed he showed the crowd the new Zimbabwean flag and said: "This flag covers everyone. There are no more blacks in Zimbabwe, there are no more whites, no people of mixed race or Indians. Today there are just Zimbabweans."
And, perhaps unconsciously echoing Nelson Mandela's famous speech in the Rivonia trial, Machel warned: "Your struggle was not waged in order to replace white racist injustice with black racist injustice." Sensing that this message might not go down well with his audience, Machel added "the truth hurts, the truth punishes, the truth is brutal, but it's the truth, and so is pure".
More than two decades later the Zimbabwean leaders who heard that speech have obviously forgotten it. Mozambique has not forgotten and has remained true to Machel's non-racial vision -- but it finds itself powerless to impose a rational policy on its wayward neighbour. Machel also used to say: "We cannot choose our neighbours."
He was thinking of the compromises Mozambique had to make with apartheid South Africa, but today the remark applies equally well to relations with Zimbabwe. Mozambican officials are irritated at suggestions from Europe or the United States that other Southern African states should punish the Zimbabwean government by imposing sanctions of some sort.
For, while the Europeans and Americans are thousands of kilometres away, Mozambique has to live with the consequences of such actions. Memories of the 1970s are still fresh for the current leadership. Back then Mozambique loyally imposed the United Nations sanctions against Ian Smith's illegal regime in Rhodesia.
While the Western powers casually violated sanctions, Mozambican ports, railways and tourism all suffered from the sudden end to trade with Rhodesia. Mozambique cared for hundreds of thousands of refugees and its territory was regularly attacked by the Rhodesian army. The country was never compensated.
Total losses from sanctions and from Rhodesian aggression were estimated at $556-million. With this history, it is scarcely surprising that Mozambique has no desire to be involved in sanctions against its neighbour again.
While parts of the Mozambican press call for a more muscular attitude towards Zimbabwe, the government still opts for "quiet diplomacy". This is not simply a matter of historical and sentimental ties between the two ruling parties, Frelimo and Zanu-PF -- though these are certainly significant.
It is also that the government does not have much leverage over Zimbabwe, and any sanctions against Zimbabwe would damage Mozambique's economy as much as Zimbabwe's. The two countries' economies are closely linked. The Mozambican ports of Maputo and Beira are the quickest and cheapest routes to the sea for Zimbabwean trade. Zimbabwe obtains most of its fuel supplies via a pipeline from Beira to Mutare.
It also purchases 500 megawatts of power from Mozambique's Cahora Bassa dam. So when the Zimbabwean economy declines, there is a serious impact on Mozambique. Zimbabwe's shortage of foreign currency means its ability to trade has been drastically curtailed.
When the trains to and from Zimbabwe run less regularly, business on the Beira rail and port complex suffers accordingly. Zimbabwe has enormous difficulty in paying for anything -- for rail and port services, for the use of the oil pipeline, for electricity. Zimbabwean exchange rate policy fuels rackets. Officially, there are Z$55 to the US dollar.
But the rate on the currency black market is more than 10 times the official rate. Smugglers play on the dual exchange, managing to purchase goods cheaply in Zimbabwe, and then putting them on sale in Mozambique at prices that undercut local producers.
Mozambican Finance Minister Luisa Diogo has pointed to the damaging effects of the artificial exchange. That her concerns had no impact on President Robert Mugabe was clear when he sacked her Zimbabwean counterpart, Simba Makoni, who was known to be in favour of devaluation.
 President Joaquim Chissano caused some shock when he became one of the first leaders to recognise the Zimbabwean presidential election as "generally free and fair", despite the opinion to the contrary of many observers, including the Southern African Development Community parliamentary forum. Yet subsequently, Mozambique raised no objection to Zimbabwe's suspension from the Commonwealth and clearly favours some form of reconciliation between Zanu-PF and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
A thoroughly pragmatic diplomacy is at work here. What is important for Mozambique is a reasonably stable Zimbabwe: continuing collapse, particularly if it generates waves of refugees, would be disastrous.
Should the Mozambican government not at least loudly denounce the abuses of human rights in Zimbabwe, notably the harassment of the press? When I asked Prime Minister Pascoal Mocumbi this question some months ago, his reply was: "We lead by example."
But there is no sign that the Zimbabwean government has the slightest interest in learning from its neighbours. Meanwhile, there is a trickle of Zimbabwean commercial farmers into central Mozambique. Agricultural Minister Helder Muteia insists that they are not refugees, but investors. "Regardless of their nationality, if they meet the requirements of our legislation, we are authorising them," Muteia said earlier this month.
So far the Zimbabwean farmers have invested in maize, sunflower, tobacco and cattle. Muteia also expected Mozambique's first tobacco processing plant to result from further Zimbabwean investment in the near future. Foreign Minister Leonardo Simao has made it robustly clear that the government doesn't care what colour these farmers are, as long as they have the funds to make the investment and provide the jobs they promise.
The minimum investment required is US$50000 and any project must provide at least 100 jobs. The movement of a small number of farmers has annoyed Harare, which has tried to prevent them from taking equipment and livestock.
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Gono On List of Officials Denied Entry Into US

The Herald (Harare)

September 28, 2002
Posted to the web September 28, 2002


COMMERCIAL Bank of Zimbabwe chief executive Dr Gideon Gono has been added on
the list of prominent Government officials and businesspeople who can be
denied entry into the United States for actions deemed as threatening
Zimbabwe's de- mocratic institutions.

Dr Gono received a notification signed this week by the US Assistant
Secretary of State for African Affairs, Mr Walter Kansteiner. The
notification advised him and his spouse that they would be ineligible to
receive a visa to enter the US.

Part of the notification read: "On February 22, 2002, the President of the
US signed a proclamation suspending the entry into the US as immigrants or
non-immigrants those persons responsible for actions that threaten
Zimbabwe's democratic institutions.

"Information available to the US Department of State indicates that your
actions are such that you may be covered by this proclamation. Accordingly,
you are hereby notified that you and your spouse may be ineligible to
receive visas to enter the US except as provided for by the proclamation's

Dr Gono yesterday confirmed receiving the notification on Thursday and
wondered whether he was being persecuted for his efforts to assist the
country in importing maize and fuel.

"It is not for me to judge whether wearing many national hats have
contributed to the well-being or otherwise of the people of Zimbabwe.

"If procuring maize and fuel for the country and trying to rehabilitate
Zisco, the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, and my past efforts to bring
discipline and direction at the University of Zimbabwe are considered
detrimental to the welfare of the people of Zimbabwe, then let it be so,"
said Dr Gono.

The CBZ chief executive joins the list of people such as President Mugabe
and his wife Cde Grace Mugabe, Former Minister of Finance and Economic
Development, Dr Simba Makoni, and the chairman of Africa Resources, Mr
Mutumwa Mawere, who have also been advised that they would not be granted
visas to enter the US.

The addition of Dr Gono on the list comes hard on the heels of a series of
articles by the opposition MDC criticising President Mugabe and Dr Gono for
visiting Libya to negotiate for more fuel imports for the country.

The articles published in The Daily News last week described Dr Gono as
"masquerading as the regime's fixer, enforcer and banker".

"Gono must know that in the eyes of Zimbabweans his degree of moral
blameworthiness is extremely high," said one of the articles.

A senior Government official said last night that in view of the role he is
playing, it was inescapable for Dr Gono to be left out in the anti-Zimbabwe
campaign by the US government.

Dr Gono rose to prominence over the last eight years after he successfully
turned around the fortunes of the CBZ, which is now ranked as the third
largest commercial bank in the country after Standard Chartered Bank and
Barclays Bank of Zimbabwe.

CBZ has grown from a size of $779 million in 1995 to $50 billion as at the
end of June 2002.
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Dear Family and Friends,
For well over a year I've been wearing a small yellow ribbon pinned on my
shirt in silent protest at what is happening in Zimbabwe and in support of
all those people who are suffering - black, brown and white. There are many
hundreds of thousands of people who are suffering here now. There are
children who can no longer go to school because their parents cannot afford
the fees. There are teachers, doctors, nurses, lawyers, magistrates and
judges whose lives have become unbearable due to political harassment. There
are hundreds of brave men and women who continue to suffer the most extreme
intimidation, physical and psychological torture because they openly support
the opposition political party. There are many thousands of farmers and
their workers who have been evicted from their homes and lost their farms
and employment. There are many thousands of people who have literally
nothing to eat and to the outsider all these are mere statistics. But they
are not just numbers, they are real people just like you and me and this
week I am wearing my small yellow ribbon for three farmer's wives.

I was hot and fed up on Friday morning having stood for a long time as the
42nd person in a queue at our local Marondera supermarket for one loaf of
brown bread. Long before I got to the front, the bread was finished so I
bought the newspaper instead. On the front page is the story that the
government's much talked about irrigation of a winter crop of maize that was
supposed to be the saving grace of us all, is about to be harvested. It
turns out that at best it will only yield enough food for the country for
one and half days. Leaving the supermarket with only food for thought I felt
pretty low as I passed the arrogant groups of youngsters wearing Zanu PF T
shirts who've been crowding our town the whole week, ready to harass voters
in the weekends' council elections. As I got into my car a man stood at my
window, his hands held as if in prayer, "Oh please help me with something to
eat" he begged. Then I stopped in at the dentist who told me that he is
struggling to keep going. Yesterday he and his partner saw only 10 patients
as opposed to the 40 they normally see in a day - dentists and doctors have
become a luxury that most of us can no longer afford.

By the time I got home I felt pretty depressed but then the phone rang. A
woman I have never met or spoken to before said: "Oh please Cathy, can I
talk to you, I know I don't know you but please can I just talk to you?" She
is a farmer's wife and through her tears I listened to yet another story of
utter hell which involves 30 months of extreme harassment and intimidation.
This was the third such call from a stranger that I'd had in a few days and
these women are so incredibly brave that I feel ashamed to be sitting in the
comfort of my relatively civilized Marondera home. Every day they face drunk
and doped up strange men who hurl obscene abuse at them. At night they have
to try and sleep while men sing drunkenly and bang on tins to try and scare
them out of their homes. Some days they are threatened with sticks, pangas
and other crude weapons; other days the men have guns. These horrors have
become a part of every day life for the few commercial farmers still trying
to grow food for Zimbabwe. A  woman, arriving on a farm this week, told the
owners to get out and in a hurry as this was now her home. She was
accompanied by five men armed with AK rifles. She refused to shake hands
with the farmer saying she didn't shake hands with whites and went on to say
that she hadn't tasted "white blood" since 1980. This woman gets away with
saying and doing these things not because she is black but because she
belongs to Zanu PF. Not only does she belong to the ruling party but she is
the wife of the Commander of the Zimbabwe Army. This is the calibre of our
new commercial farmers and while these obscenities go on, the world does
absolutely nothing but use diplomatic double talk. While they do this, more
and more people become victims and go to work hungry and to bed at night on
empty stomachs.

Recently I came across a saying which reads: "What we do, we become". If
this is true about me and my little yellow ribbon then I wonder what lies in
store for the woman who wants to taste white blood and for the world's
politicians who sit back and watch Zimbabwe dying. Until next week, with
love, cathy. Copyright: Cathy Buckle, 27th
September 2002.
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Zimbabwe Votes Despite Protests

Saturday September 28, 2002 5:00 PM

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) - Zimbabweans in rural areas voted Saturday in
elections for local councils, and the main opposition party said hundreds of
its candidates were barred from running for office.

Ruling party militants, backed by police, blocked about 700 opposition
candidates from registering, officials from the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change said.

About 20 opposition candidates were assaulted during campaigning and at
least another 70 were arrested on false charges, opposition officials said.

The government has denied involvement in any violence or intimidation of
opposition candidates.

An appeal by the Movement for Democratic Change to have the election
postponed was thrown out by the High Court Friday, after the presiding judge
ruled the case was politically motivated.

The court's refusal to hear the appeal, ``confirms our worst fears about the
judiciary,'' said Movement For Democratic Change Secretary General Welshman

Critics of the government say embattled President Robert Mugabe has co-opted
the nation's courts by packing the bench with his supporters and
intimidating independent-minded judges in a bid to retain power.

However, the opposition turned to the courts Saturday, seeking an order to
let doctors examine Thomas Spicer, an 18-year-old white opposition activist,
who they say was tortured in police detention Friday.

The police had no comment on the case.

Also Saturday, British diplomats said they had been banned from traveling
outside Harare without Zimbabwean government permission in apparent
retribution for outspoken criticism of Mugabe by the British government.

Despite the controversy, polling ran smoothly Saturday. Voting would
continue Sunday and results were not expected until Monday.

Vice President Joseph Msika said the ruling Zanu-PF party expected a massive
victory in what party officials said would be a show of support for the
government's land reform program to seize white-owned farm for
redistribution to poor blacks.

Many of those farms, however, have been given instead to Mugabe's

Zimbabwe has been seized by more than two years of political and economic
turmoil, widely blamed on Mugabe's increasingly unpopular ruling party. More
than half Zimbabwe's 12.5 million people face severe food shortages, blamed
on drought and the government's land reform program which has ground
commercial farming to a standstill.

Mugabe's ruling party narrowly won parliament elections in 2000, surviving
the biggest threat to its hold on power since independence in 1980. Mugabe
won a disputed presidential election in March that independent observers
said was swayed by violence, intimation and vote rigging.
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Most African countries rally behind Zimbabwe

29 September 2002
Most African countries who for a long time were unaware of a time bomb
created by a shortage of land in their countries are now rallying behind
Zimbabwe and its land reform programme.

Political analysts say after the tremendous efforts by the President Cde
Robert Mugabe to explain the land situation in the country, most African
countries and the world over now understand why the Government embarked on
the exercise to empower the black majority.

This week, two members-states of the Commonwealth Troika on Zimbabwe refused
to censure the country demonstrating their solidarity with Zimbabwe and an
appreciation of the country's problems with the western nations.

When the Troika met on Monday in Abuja, Nigeria to review the Zimbabwean
situation, Australia wanted Zimbabwe to be expelled from the club but
Nigeria and South Africa declined, dealing a major blow to Britain and its

To date 300 000 people have benefited from the on going agrarian reform
programme and more are set to benefit.
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Comment from The Mail & Guardian (SA),
27 September

What lies beneath the mask of normality
Chido Makunike
Johannesburg - For a first-time visitor the reasons why Zimbabwe has garnered so much negative international publicity are not immediately apparent - many have commented on how normal everything appears. Harare's roads have lots of smart new cars, the fashionable suburbs still look good and one does not have a sense of vulnerability to violence on the streets. Indeed, one of the strange things about what is happening in Zimbabwe is the facade of normality that covers the turmoil. Visitors from neighbouring countries think Zimbabweans still have it good and are a bunch of spoiled whiners. It seems to confirm the contention that Zimbabwe and President Robert Mugabe have become world pariahs only because of the discomfort caused to a privileged white farming community. The reality is that by every socio-economic measure, the Zimbabwe of today is a mere shadow of what it was two or three years ago. To friends from neighbouring countries who take the view that talk of a collapsing economy is alarmist nonsense given how much better things appear here than in other countries, my response is that the measure should be where Zimbabwe is, compared to where it was and could be. Even taking into account the inevitable hiccups in the necessary transition from a race-based colonial past to a majority-based economic dispensation, today's Zimbabwe is not a good model of transformation. Whites who have been dispossessed of their farms may be expected to moan about loss of privilege, but economic decline has affected everyone and it is "the landless black majority" that suffers the most from the ruinous policies of Mugabe

It is one thing to have the raw statistics that detail the socio-economic decline of Zimbabwe, but quite another to appreciate how they translate into everyday experiences. Inflation hovers at about 120%. The collapse of commercial agriculture, the decimation of much of industry and the country's isolation from foreign donors has led to an acute foreign currency crisis. This has put many of the foreign components necessary for the manufacture of goods out of reach of many companies. For several months now, sugar, mealie meal and cooking oil have not been readily available on grocery shelves. When they are, there are stampedes and it is no longer unusual to see long winding queues. Towns have taken on a tattier look and reports of raw sewage are common. Minibus operators have taken over whole stretches of streets. Because of the costs of spare parts, many minibus operators are failing to keep their aged fleets on the road. Streetkids and beggars on the roads are an increasingly common sight and they have become more brazen in proportion to the compassion fatigue of motorists and pedestrians also reeling from a wayward economy. Smash-and-grab incidents at traffic lights are a relatively new but burgeoning phenomenon. A group of thieves will distract a motorist stopped at a red light and smash a car window, grabbing a cellphone, bag or other valuables. Few bother to report such incidents because public confidence in the police is low. They frequently do not have vehicles to get to crime scenes, are overburdened by more serious crimes and are increasingly disrespected for being perceived by many to be partisan.

As more companies close or downsize, job opportunities have shrunk. Many have resorted to cross-border trading of one type or another to try to make ends meet. There is a new, harder edge to Zimbabweans as existence increasingly becomes a matter of survival of the fittest. As if economic problems and drought were not enough to contend with, HIV/Aids slashes through society. Absences from work owing to illness or to attend funerals are increasing. It is impossible to measure how the dispirited mood of the country affects mental health, but stress levels are high. The general collective attitude towards Mugabe and his regime is one of sullen insolence. There is a sense of not quite knowing what will come next, but I don't know many people who think some positive miracle is just around the corner.

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'Commercial Farmers Wasting Time'

The Herald (Harare)
September 28, 2002
Posted to the web September 28, 2002

THE Government will no longer entertain any commercial farmers who want to negotiate for farms that have already been acquired for resettlement, the Minister of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement, Dr Joseph Made.

In an interview, Dr Made said there were some farmers who have appealed to the Government to let them stay on their properties although they would have been earmarked for acquisition.

Some unrepentant white commercial farmers were still contesting the acquisition of their properties in the courts.

"Commercial farmers are wasting their time going to the courts to contest the acquisition of their farms because we are not going to remove people from the farms where they have been resettled," Dr Made said.

He said more than 11 million hectares of land had been acquired and there was no way they could reverse that.

"We are not going to be drawn back by a few people who are bitter about the land reform programme. All the farms that have been taken now belong to the people of Zimbabwe," he said.

Dr Made, however, said commercial farmers who were willing to continue farming were free to apply for land like everyone else.

"What should be understood is that the Government has not said it does not want white commercial farmers. We are willing to work with those who understand the need for land redistribution and those who don't will not be accommodated," he said.

He said the Government would also continue to acquire more farms, as there were still a lot of people on the waiting list.

"There are people who are still in need of land and we are not going to ignore them although we know that the majority of them are those who thought the land redistribution was a political gimmick. They are coming now because they have seen that it is a reality," he said.

Dr Made said people had now realised that the land reform programme was not only irreversible, but it was also the basis for equitable distribution of the country's national economy.

The Government embarked on a land redistribution exercise to correct the land imbalances that were caused by colonialism.

More than 300 000 people have been resettled since the launch of the fast track programme in 2000.

Another 54 000 are set to be resettled under the Model A2 scheme.

White farmers constitute less than one percent of Zimbabwe's population but used to occupy 70 percent of the productive land, or 30 percent of the country's surface area.

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Don't keep ANC govt too long: Holomisa

SOUTH Africans needed to come together and form an alternative to the ruling African National Congress government before it is too late, United Democratic Movement (UDM) leader Bantu Holomisa warned yesterday.

Addressing a rally celebrating the UDM's fifth birthday in Port Elizabeth, Holomisa said the lesson of keeping a faulty government in power for too long was being taught by Zimbabwe.

"South Africa must not repeat the error committed by our neighbours in Zimbabwe, who waited for 20 years before coming to the inevitable conclusion that democracy and freedom are dependent on a viable alternative to the ruling party," he said.

"The ANC's swallowing of organisations such as the SA Communist Party, Cosatu, Azapo and the New National Party effectively meant their constituencies no longer had alternatives to the government's various failed policies.

"In essence, support for these organisations is a vote in favour of joblessness, violent crime, rape, HIV/AIDS, mismanagement, unnecessary weapons of war, poverty and corruption."

As a hallmark of all rightwing formations, the ANC had "thrown" billions of rands of taxpayers money away on weapons of war while millions of people suffer due to unemployment, illiteracy, hunger and disease, Holomisa told the party faithful.

Taking a swipe at the official opposition, the Democratic Alliance, Holomisa said serious and responsible opposition to the ANC could not come from even "further to their right".

"While the DA continues to oppose everything for the sake of opposition and thereby perpetuates the perception that it is not concerned with the needs of all South Africans, it has also lost any moral standing it may have had."

He said the scandals surrounding Gerald Morkel and Jürgen Harksen, as well as the dubious appointment of a DA strategist in various government positions "simultaneously at astronomical cost to the taxpayer", had destroyed whatever credibility the DA might have had as a watchdog over the ANC.

"Who can with credibility expose ANC mismanagement, corruption and lack of service delivery? Surely not the DA," he said. Sapa

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Pensions of Former Presidents to Be Increased
The Herald
Posted to the web September 28, 2002


PENSIONS of former presidents and vice-presidents will soon be increased while the Speaker of Parliament and his deputy will have theirs upgraded to the same level as that of the Chief Justice.

The Government has approved proposals by the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Cde July Moyo, to review the pensions of former presidents, vice-presidents, the Speaker and the deputy.

The pension of a former president will now be 100 percent of his pensionable income.

Former presidents who served for at least one full term are paid an annual pension equal to their annual salary when they vacate office.

The pension is reviewed periodi- cally in terms of the Pensions Review Act.

A former president and vice-president will now be able to commute a third of his or her pension at the time of retirement.

Previously, they could not commute their pension yet the Chief Justice, who is the head of the judiciary and second pillar of Government and the Speaker, who is the head of the legislature and third pillar of Government can do so.

"There is no provision for the president who is the head of the executive and first pillar of Government to commute. There is no reason for the difference," Cde Moyo said in his proposals.

He also recommended that the status of the Speaker and the deputy be also recognised for pension purposes.

Their pension benefits will be equated to those of the Chief Justice, which is 100 percent of his pensionable income.

The Speaker is presently treated as a Member of Parliament whose benefits are equal to 75 percent of his pensionable income in terms of the Parliamentary Pensions Act.

"There is no separate pension provision for the Speaker and Deputy Speaker in the Parliamentary Pensions Act, yet the constitution and the Parliamentary Salaries, Allowances and Benefits Act recognises and makes separate provision for the Speaker.

"It is accordingly recommended that the status of Speaker as Head of one pillar of Government also be recognised for pension purposes," Cde Moyo said.

The proposals will be enacted through statutory instruments, which are expected to be issued soon.

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