Home » Judicial » Concourt Allows Disabled White Farmer Eviction

THE Constitutional Court Tuesday upheld the eviction of a white commercial farmer in Masvingo’s south eastern Mwenezi district under the country’s controversial land acquisition programme.

Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku, sitting with the full bench of the ConCourt, agreed with the State’s submissions that no rights had been breached by the notice to compulsorily acquire William Stander’s Benjani Ranch farm.

In his application to the country’s highest court double amputee, Stander, argued that the government was in breach of the constitution as it would deprive him of his only source of livelihood.

“Seeking to deprive such a disabled person of his only source of livelihood clearly infringes on the constitutional guarantees provided under section 83 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

“One of the questions is whether seeking the accused’s eviction without paying him compensation for improvements amounts to unlawful deprivation of property in terms of section 72 (3) (a) and (b) of the current Constitution and the entitlement to compensation for improvements in section 295 (3) and (4),” Stander said in his submission.

The farmer added that instead, the government should, at the very least, pay him compensation for the farm’s seizure.

“The state is therefore not in a legal position to prosecute accused or seek his eviction before it complies with the law by ensuring that he enjoys his protection by giving him compensation.

“In the circumstances, seeking to evict a person who has not been paid compensation to enable him to secure alternative accommodation renders him homeless, takes away his dignity and violates his rights not to be treated in an inhuman and degrading way,” Stander said.

But in dismissing the application, Chidyausiku said Strander’s plea had no legal merit.

“Application is dismissed as it has no merits and reasons for judgement will be given in due course,” said the chief justice.

From the Prosecutor General’s office, Fortunate Kachidza, said the law had been followed to the letter and no human right had been trashed.

“There was no infringement of the applicant’s rights. According to Section 3 of the Constitution, every former farm owner whose land would have been gazetted for acquisition shall cease to occupy land he or she should vacate … there is no exemption for disabled persons,” Kachidza argued.

“Anybody seeking eviction must remove him or herself from the farm and Section 295 provides for compensation. It is clear that the applicant has not done anything that warrants compensation. If he wants compensation he should vacate forthwith.”

The state prosecutor said Stander had resisted eviction adding the fact that the new owner had approached the courts for redress showed the spirit of the law that prevailed around the acquisition.

“On the right to human dignity, right to life… nothing has been infringed upon,” said Kachidza.

“The new owner of the farm approached the courts after the applicant refused to vacate the premises … doing so he respected his dignity. Therefore the applicant must be dismissed as it has no merit.”

Source : New Zimbabwe