By Shingirai Vambe
White farmers, 22 years after the land redistribution, continue to get evicted from productive farms, the latest being the Protea Valley Farm.
Farm owner, Charl Grobbler received a call, one early morning from an unnamed senior government official.
The caller informed him of the possibility of striking a deal, so that he wouldn’t lose his farm. This was only possible if he doesn’t go public through the media about the eviction at Protea Valley Farm.
It was a gag order so to say.
A good crop of tobacco was his last bet but only until he removes his tobacco then hand over the keys to the Autism Association of Zimbabwe which takes care of persons with disabilities.
The farm that is near the capital city, Harare, had over 200 farm workers, 60 percent being women who now have nowhere to go.
Grobbler told Post On Sunday this morning that the Sheriff was at the farm to evict all workers whom they have given to find another place to settle.
The remainder of the farm that was belonging to Charl had a farm house and over 200 workers compound, which has since been highlighted that the association just like other new farm owners were interested in the property.
Martin Grobbler, Father to Charl, was evicted from the house and part of the farm and his eviction went viral on social and international media soon after building a US$350 000 tunnel and now being leased by the new owner both the tunnel and land to grow his tobacco while paying the Tobacco Company loan that was used to build the tunnel.
Mrs Grobbler told this publication earlier that it was to her surprise that court papers were coming from the High Court without their correspondence.
“We have never received any court paper to attend or hear on the removal or evictions that have taken place since, and we all wonder how the judiciary works in this regard,” said Mrs Grobbler.
Senior Farm worker who was there before the Grobblers bought the farm, Joshua Marumisi said he has worked at the farm since 1985. He is worried, where he will go after being at the farm for more than 33 years.
Joshua said he is not going anywhere, the police should arrest him. In 2020 part of the farm was taken, 80ha was under tobacco crop and 40ha from the new owner who is leasing the farm.
“It was better if we were the first persons to get offer letters, we are never prioritised, here there are school going children, women and girls who are being taken care of by the Grobblers, it’s a start of a new era,” he said.
It is understood the farm has title deeds, from Rothmans, then another farmer who then sold the farm to the Grobblers more than 20 years ago.
Marumisi said some elderly farm workers now also have their adult children also working at the farm.
“Who is going to compensate all this time I have worked here, it’s unfair, we don’t have anywhere to start from,” added Marumisi.
Mrs Muchemwa took part of the farm in 2020 and she got the house, tunnel and the farm while the other part was taken by Mrs Rupande, then the remaining part was allocated to the Autism Organisation of Zimbabwe.
Marumisi said government should cater for the workers who are being evicted today, we are not going anywhere, if we are to get a place to be leased here that is fine, he added.
The land redistribution exercise in Zimbabwe is marred with corrupt activities on the access and allocation of the land, politicized from the start, only ruling Zanu Pf members are the beneficiaries.
The plight of farm workers has not been addressed since the First Republic. It continues to the Second Republic and a plea to The Listening President goes out through various channels.