EWC has come back to haunt, and cost, Zimbabwe

Staff Writer | Apr 09, 2019
White farmers are compensated for land grabbed in the early 2000s.

White commercial farmers in Zimbabwe, who had their land expropriated under the fast-track land reform programme in the early 2000s, have accepted the Zimbabwe government's offer of an interim payment of RTGS$53m (R238m at current exchange rates).

In 2000, Zimbabwe expropriated land from white commercial farmers without compensation and distributed it to landless black people and the connected elite.

The RTGS$ is Zimbabwe’s latest currency – the Real-time gross settlement dollar. One RTGS$ can buy R4.50, according to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe on Monday morning 8 April 2019. 

The Commercial Farmers’ Union said they had to accept the advanced interim payment as some farmers were in financial distress. "As this is a limited fund, it is hoped that those who are not in financial distress do not take it up so as to maximise the effect on others not so fortunate."

The total bill could run into billions and the Zimbabwean government is working with international financial institutions on how best to fund the compensation.

The Zimbabwean government said by end of May 2019 valuations for farm improvements were also expected to be completed.

The Zimbabwean government is trying to redress the disaster Robert Mugabe and his government wrought by decimating commercial farming. 

Despite the IRR’s detailed warnings about EWC, South Africa’s government is determined to follow the path that Zimbabwe is now trying to reverse.   

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