The Daily News (Harare)

21 August 2002

Zimbabwe: Magistrate Orders Arrested Farmers to Remain On Farms

Macgregor Kufa, a Mwenezi magistrate, has ordered four white commercial farmers arrested for refusing to vacate their designated properties to remain on their farms until the constitutionality of the evictions is determined by the Supreme Court.

Samuel Viljoen, Edwards Henry, Gerald Whitehead, and Christo Schimper were not asked to plead and were remanded to 18 September on $10 000 bail each.

Kufa ordered the farmers to remain on their farms pending a ruling by the Supreme Court on the constitutionality of Section 8 of the Land Acquisition Act.

The High Court recently issued a provisional order in which it ordered the Minister of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement, and the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, and the Attorney-General to show cause why the new amendment to the Land Acquisition Act should not be declared invalid.

The ruling by Kufa comes at a time when other magistrates across the country have been giving ultimatums to farmers to leave their properties pending the finalisation of their cases.

The State alleges that the four commercial farmers defied Section 8 of the Land Acquisition Act which required them to vacate their properties on 8 August.

In Masvingo some white commercial farmers were given only two days to remove all their personal belongings from their farmhouses.

On Monday, Masvingo provincial magistrate Godwin Chizhande ordered five commercial farmers to leave their farms pending the finalisation of their cases.

The farmers were given two days to vacate their properties.

Chizhande granted them $500 bail each on condition they would leave their farms.

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