Reserve Bank officials pounce on South African farmer’s property

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Last Sunday he had to slaughter 1000 of his pigs and feed the meat to crocodiles because farm invaders had decided that no pig feed would be allowed on the farm. Louis Fick has been farming with pigs, crocodiles, cattle, fish and grain near Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe, since 1993.

This is partly due to the ban on animal feed and partly because the senior Reserve Bank official who had seized the farm in July 2007 was limiting Fick’s farming activities .

Since the seizure of his farm by a top Reserve Bank official, Louis Fick’s farming activities have been limited to 5ha of the 400ha farm. He has also been severely affected by a ban on animal feed. Now he says the last of 3500 pigs will be finished off within weeks, while all his cattle had already been killed.

Nothing was happening on the rest of the land which has been seized, Fick tells me.

SADC Tribunal

He is part of a group of farmers who will again approach the Southern African Development Community (SADC) tribunal to try and force President Robert Mugabe’s regime to reinstate their ownership of expropriated farms.

Last November the tribunal ruled in Windhoek, Namibia that the expropriation of the farms of 78 farmers was illegal, but Fick said thus far no SADC country has been prepared to help enforce the ruling.

S.Africa’s inaction on Zim’s contempt

Fick and Deon Theron, deputy president of the Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) of Zimbabwe, said they were going to request the tribunal to rule Zimbabwe in contempt of the judgment following a rejection of the judgment..

“In the long-term Zimbabwe will have to honour the judgment, but in the short-term it is very frustrating,” Fick said. “There is no urgency among the (SADC) countries to attend to the matter. We are in constant contact with the South African government through the embassy in Harare, but we’re not getting any feedback.”

In the meantime the campaign against the farmers is intensifying. Fick said prominent employees of Zimbabwe’s Reserve Bank were increasingly targeting farms.

On his farm the new owner prohibited the supply of animal feed for the first time in April last year, and then again since last week. “They are making it incredibly difficult and are in effect allowing no feed.

“We have to throw the feed over high security fences and then load it onto vehicles, but then they lock up the vehicles so that we can’t move. It’s not fair towards the animals. Fortunately I can feed the pigs to the crocodiles.

At its height the farm as an integrated enterprise supported 3500 pigs, 12000 crocodiles, 1 500 cattle and a fish hatchery. Eighty hectares had been planted with wheat and soya.

Theron said most of the remaining 300 white farmers were currently being forbidden to plant and the persecution of farmers who refused to stop farming was continuing.

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