Evicted Zimbabwe farmer told he will be going home
A WHITE Zimbabwean farmer kicked off his property at gunpoint in June has been told he will be going home within days – the first signs of the post-Robert Mugabe government making good on promises to respect agricultural property rights.
Rob Smart, a 71-year-old farmer from the eastern district of Rusape, said he understood his case had been taken up by new President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who heard of Smart’s violent eviction while at an investment conference in Johannesburg.
Smart said new provincial minister of state Monica Mutsvangwa had assured him it would be reversed.
According to media reports at the time, Smart and his family, including two small grandchildren, were kicked off their Lesbury farm along with scores of workers in early June by riot police armed with AK-47 rifles.
In all, the eviction would have hit the livelihood of as many as 5 000 people, Smart said.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe’s new government pledged yesterday to re-engage with international lenders, curb spending and attract investors to revive its battered economy.
In the first budget since last month’s removal of long-time ruler Robert Mugabe, Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa also said the government would amend indigenisation laws, limiting a 51% local ownership requirement to just the platinum and diamond sectors.
It would retire civil servants aged over 65 and close some overseas diplomatic missions.