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Harare Pays Ex-Farmers to Avoid South Africa Property Auction

Many farmers are involved in subsistence farming in Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe has averted the auctioning of its properties in South Africa after paying compensation to white commercial farmers who lost their land in the land reform program that started in 2000.

Zimbabwe government property in Kenilworth, Cape Town, was expected to be auctioned off Tuesday following a judgment by the South African constitutional court that a defying Harare should comply with an order handed down by the disbanded Southern African Development Community Tribunal in 2008 that it should compensate former commercial farmers who lost their land.

Harare made full payment of $20,000 Friday, after nearly five years of refusing to respect the punitive order, to a trust account of the legal representatives of 78 farmers who challenged the 2000 land seizures in the tribunal.

Afri-Forum legal representative Willie Spies told VOA the move by Harare sets a major legal milestone for disposed farmers.
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The South African Supreme court this year dismissed an appeal by the Zimbabwean government against an earlier ruling of the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein in favour of the late Mr Mike Campbell and 77 other Zimbabwean farmers regarding what they charged were illegal and racist land reforms.

The court also ordered Harare to pay the farmers’ costs.

Last year the Supreme Court of Appeal had also dismissed with costs the appeal of the Zimbabwean government against an earlier ruling of the Pretoria High Court confirming the registration and enforcement of the judgement of the SADC Tribunal in favour of the Zimbabwean farmers.