SENIOR STAFF WRITER
FINANCE minister Mthuli Ncube, pictured, has said the government will mobilise locally and abroad funds to pay former commercial white farmers whose land was seized during the land reform programme, the Daily News reports.
This comes after the government recently signed a
US$3, 5 billion Global Compensation Agreement with the white former farmers, while also announcing that all farmers who lost their land protected by Bilateral Investment Protection and Promotion Agreements (BIPPAs) would either be compensated or have their titles restored.
Responding to a question from Norton Independent legislator Temba Mliswa in the National Assembly on Wednesday, Ncube said the government was seeking financial resources for compensation.
“I now want to respond to his second question regarding the sources of funding.
“The Global Compensation Agreement is an agreement on… global and final figure for compensation.
“The resources will be raised internally and externally, when we have agreed or concluded on the instrument through which the resources would be raised, if it is a debt instrument, which is what we are targeting.
“It is at that stage that the financing instrument will be brought to Parliament,” Ncube said.
The Treasury chief also said the issue of farmer compensation was a process which began many years ago and wondered why there was uproar now.
“I urge all members to re-read sections 72 and 295. This is a process.
“So, every year in the budget we set aside resources in the national budget that this Parliament approves for farmers to be compensated, targeting those who are vulnerable.
“This year … we allocated something in the order of $300 million. In 2019, this Parliament allocated something in the order of $70 million.
“So, what was happening was that every year, we were allocating and paying the farmers,” Ncube told legislators.
This comes after Agriculture minister Anxious Masuka, recently said that the government’s decision to compensate and restore land titles to white former commercial farmers was not a reversal of the country’s land reform programme.
It also comes as Zimbabwe is still reeling from its chaotic agrarian reforms which were carried out two decades ago, after the late former president Robert Mugabe lost a constitutional referendum and ordered the seizure of white-owned farms as punishment for them supporting the opposition.
The land seizures of 20 years ago, which were characterised by violence, disrupted production on the farms — leading to many years of hunger. It also led to Zimbabwe becoming a pariah state.