An announcement from President Robert Mugabe’s government that it will soon start collecting land rentals from new black farmers to help compensate white farmers whose land was taken from them could be “very good”, the director of the Commercial Farmers’ Union (CFU) said on Saturday.
Hendrik Olivier told News24: “If there is a concrete realisation from the government that they want to sit around the table with white farmers [and discuss compensation], this would be very good and would boost the confidence of the farmers.”
The decision to extract rentals from the new farmers, almost certainly an effort to restore confidence in Zimbabwe internationally and encourage desperately-needed foreign investment, was announced by Lands and Rural Resettlement Minister Douglas Mombeshora on Thursday, the state-controlled Herald newspaper reported on Saturday.
The minister said the move was approved by Mugabe’s cabinet last week.
Olivier said that there were “lots of figures floating around” as to the total amount of compensation owed to white farmers who have lost their land under Mugabe’s controversial land reforms, which were launched in 2000. He agreed that it was “most probably” around $10bn, a figure that has been previously cited.
The CFU director said some dispossessed white farmers needed “very much” to be paid back.