ZANU PF minister slammed for ‘blatant lies’ about land grabs

via ZANU PF minister slammed for ‘blatant lies’ about land grabs | SW Radio Africa by Alex Bell on Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A ZANU PF government minister has been heavily criticised for ‘blatantly lying’ about the land grab campaign, after insisting that no South African citizens were affected.

Deputy Finance Minister Samuel Undenge was responding to concerns raised by a South African government minister currently visiting Zimbabwe on an investment mission. The South African minister, Elizabeth Thabethe, said Zimbabwe had to address concerns about businesses and farms being seized.

But Undenge denied such incidents have happened, saying there were “no cases of South Africans who have lost farms,” adding: “If you have any specific cases of farmers who lost their land during the reform programme bring them to our attention and we will be more than happy to respond and give the necessary information.”

The minister’s comments have been dismissed as ‘blatant lies’ by a South African civil rights group, which has for years been representing its farming compatriots affected by the land grabs in Zimbabwe. AfriForum’s CEO Kallie Kriel told SW Radio Africa that “more than 400 South Africans have lost their farms.”

“It’s a blatant lie to say no one has lost their land. It’s hundreds of people who have lost their land and many of them have been arrested and detained and charged by the Zimbabwe government,” Kriel said.

He added: “Unfortunately there has been no support from the South African government, apart from sending officials sometimes to appear in those court cases. So what we would really expect from the South African government is to take a strong stance.”

Kriel singled out the landmark Crawford von Abo legal case, which saw South African businessman Von Abo take the government to court for failing to protect his interests in Zimbabwe. The Constitutional Court in 2009 upheld a High Court judgement which ruled the South African government should have offered Von Abo the necessary protection against the land grabs which left him penniless.

Von Abo is just one of the hundreds of South Africans affect by the land seizures, which have been ongoing for over a decade. South African born Dirk Visagie and his wife Heidi are another example, after they were forced to pack up their belongings and leave their Chegutu farm in 2012. The eviction followed a court ruling that Dirk was guilty of remaining on the property, which had been singled out for invasion by a ZANU PF official called Timothy Madavanhu.

In 2011, ZANU PF youths in Nyazura evicted two South African farmers, Koos Smith of De Rust farm and Tienie van Rensburg of Rueben farm, giving them an hour’s notice to pack up their belongings and leave.

Other South African’s affected by the land grabs include Louis Fick who lost his Chinoyi farm after a series of invasions, as well as Philip and Ellen Hapelt from Grasslands Farm in Somabhula, who were also kicked off their property in 2010.

The land grabs after 2009 violate a bilateral investment protection agreement (BIPPA) that was signed by South Africa and Zimbabwe that same year. The BIPPA was ratified in 2010 and is meant to offer South African investors some kind of protection. But in the case of the farms, this never happened.

A regional SADC Tribunal ruling in 2008 that declared the land grab campaign unlawful, was also supposed to protect the South Africans and other farmers in Zimbabwe. But that court ruling was repeatedly ignored and eventually the court was suspended by SADC leaders, who refused to take action against Zimbabwe’s contempt of court.

Former Chegutu farmer Ben Freeth, who is now the spokesperson of the SADC Tribunal Rights Watch group, said Wednesday that the lies about the land grab are a “desperate” attempt to attract much needed investment. He said that a list currently being compiled to counter Minister Undenge’s comments, suggests that there are at least 500 South African farmers who lost land in Zimbabwe.

“The ZANU PF government is in a position where they realise that the country cannot move forward unless there is investment. So this is a desperate attempt to woo investors with a lie,” Freeth said.



  • comment-avatar

    Imagine that! A ZANU-PF Minister lied? Where is his integrity? Doesn’t he realize that he represents the entire country? I’m shocked, shocked I say! This is totally unexpected!

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      Zeezee 8 years ago

      I am also shocked, NOT! Zanu PF has been lying, murdering and stealing for the last 33 years! And they will continue to do so until they no longer have any power.

    • comment-avatar

      Hey DL, it looks like your subtle sarcasim got lost in the mixer!

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    Jogo Bonita 8 years ago

    Hazvishamise izvi.these pple are the biggest liars.

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    ZanuPf lies are not shocking to many people who follow Zimbabwean politics. They just lie shamelessly. They have no sense of shame at all. What should shocking is the deliberate hypocricy of the South African government. Again its the government and not the ruling ANC. The ANC also just lie shamelessly especially Nkosazana-Zuma currently heading the AU. No wonder why the organsation is losing its head and might even start cracking. SADC is also another joke when it comes to principle. If one studies them closely honestly one can see serious outdated interpretations of the current regional socio-economic problems. It looks like the leaders just enjoy going out to eat, drink, have all the fun and go back home to their capitals and then call their corrupt journalists who also falsely shower praises after praises about “plans, decisions and resolutions” that are never fulfilled. Theirs is to make sure that the ruling maintains its power. No reasonable self respecting investor who has honestly worked for his money can invest in Zimbabwe at the moment. Only Chinese,some mafias and gangs engaged in unlawful mineral dealings like the Ghanaians whose story is in the press currently “invest” in Zimbabwe. Honest business people know that zanupf are liars!

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    Jrr56 8 years ago

    These children think that if they lie enough some of what they say will be believed

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    Hornblower 8 years ago

    Liar!! A farm called Grasslands in Gutu area,( Near Serima Mission)had the South African Citizen farmers evicted only as recently as June 2013!!!

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    Shame 8 years ago

    “If you have any specific cases of farmers who lost their land during the reform programme bring them to our attention and we will be more than happy to respond and give the necessary information.”

    I don’t see the lie there. What Udenge said has legal connotaions.
    First,loss of land is not under disput here. its a given. Some folks lost land, white forlks, foreign folks.
    Second,the use of ‘their land’is a litmus test to property rights at law. One can lose property which did not belong to him in the first place-stolen property .Certainly that will fall outside the category ‘lost their land’ So Udenge is challenging those who have proof they rightfully owned land they lost to come forward with proof-and he will be more than willing to explain.

    Now, ain’t that smart? we all know no white skin who farmed this land has rights of ownership over it-it was all ill-goten,including whatever was later sold and bought from what had been previously stolen bluh-bluh-bluh-bluh; case dismissed. I am surprised at folks finding fault with minister Udenge. yes there are so many south African names amongs white farmers who lost land they farmed in Zimbabwe. But certainly that was never ‘their land’, only a fool would mix up the two-loosing land, and having legal rights over the lost land. Roger confirm, loud and clear? That having been said, Udenge is the most honest, truth bearing messenger you can ever find on mother earth.

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      Just because someone has a white skin it does not mean that person had anything to do with what might have happened in the past. Is that not one of the reasons why the war for independence took place. Equality!! Equal opportunity no matter what race , religion etc. Are we not going backwards. Taking land from someone who’s only “sin” is because he is white. How racist is that!

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    Fallenz 8 years ago

    Maybe Shame has something there… the ZANUPF should stop wasting time trying to justify their theft with legal arguments. Better the ZANUPF simply admit that they wanted what wasn’t theirs, and took it. There are no courts going to present a ruling because there’s no African authorities to enforce it. Typical “African solution for an African problem”, as defined by ZANUPF crooks. ZANUPF just looks silly trying to talk around and spin the situation to make their blatant corruption appear legal. They’re like the little boy with chocolate on his face denying he ate the candy.

    They stole it, they murdered and maimed, history is written, and no amount of ZANUPF smirks and lies can change that. God will judge them for their atrocities against their fellow man, and for turning their back on the only One who can save them… and they will pay a price of torment beyond human imagination. I shudder to think of the evil that awaits them… and then I smile at the justice of it.

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    Zvichapera 8 years ago

    “Shame” shame on you mate. You’re no different to your master at chibuku house who think the country is on the right track and yet sinking fast. Its only a matter of time. It is not sanctions that have destroyed our economy but the same disastrous policies of land grab. Remember this those who lost what’s rightfully theirs will get it back, a proper land audit will restore ownership to productive farmers. We are not racists like you. Zimbabwe is for everyone black and white. And will be given equal protection.