SA citizens bear brunt of Zim invasions — envoy


The South African government yesterday expressed anger at the continued displacement of its citizens whose farms have been invaded by supporters of President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF.

South Africa’s ambassador to Zimbabwe, Vusi Mavimbela, said this after meeting with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai at his Charter House offices yesterday.

The ambassador said most of the South African citizens dispossessed of their properties were now “destitute” and visiting the embassy in search of food and other basic requirements.

“We are concerned about the manner in which farm invasions are taking place,” Mavimbela told journalists.
He said what compounded the situation was the displaced South Africans were not being compensated for improvements done on the seized properties.

“We are raising this as a concern that if compensation is not made, they (farmers) will be destitute.

“They are coming to the embassy for assistance because they do not know where the next plate of meal is coming from.”

He said efforts to stop the illegal invasions had not been successful because the police were not being co-operative.

The South African embassy had previously engaged the Ministry of Foreign Affairs without any joy, he said.
“The police have come and said ‘we have been told not to intervene’,” Mavimbela said.

Mavimbela also said his country was concerned about the manner in which Zimbabwe was implementing its black economic empowerment and indigenisation laws. He said operations run by South

Africans that were protected under Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection

Agreement were now under threat. “We do not have a problem with the principle of indigenisation, (but) we are worried about the manner in which it is being implemented. This has caused a stir among South Africa companies here,” he said.

He said while there was nothing wrong in Zimbabwe implementing its laws, this ought to be done in a practical manner.

Mavimbela said there was need for more engagement with the authorities in Harare to address these vexatious issues.

“The South African government must begin to engage the Zimbabwean government. It is not wise for the South African government to disengage. They have to come closer to Zimbabwe and discuss these issues,” he said.