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Minister to testify in land case
Posted: Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Herald Reporter
July 15, 2008
The Herald

THE Minister of Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement, Cde Didymus Mutasa, is expected to give oral evidence before the Sadc Tribunal in Namibia during the hearing of a case in which 78 former commercial farmers are seeking to stop the compulsory acquisition of their farms for resettlement in Zimbabwe.

The hearing resumes tomorrow in Windhoek.

"The Minister of State for National Security, Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement, Cde Didymus Mutasa, is going to attend a hearing of land matters before a Sadc Tribunal as from July 16 to July 18 2008 in Windhoek, Namibia," an official in the ministry said in an interview yesterday.

"The Minister is expected to give oral evidence before the court which is sitting at the Supreme Court Building in Namibia to hear the matter."

According to the ministry, the matter was set down for the hearing of full and substantive arguments from both sides.

Apart from Cde Mutasa, the Zimbabwean delegation comprises Deputy Attorney-General (Civil Division) Advocate Prince Machaya, Deputy Attorney-General (Criminal Division) Mr Johaness Tomana, Advocate Martin Dinha and senior officials from the Ministry of Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement.

The hearing of the case was postponed to tomorrow by the tribunal on May 28 this year.

It also reserved judgment in an application in which more than 300 000 beneficiaries of the same land reform programme were seeking to be part of the hearing.

The tribunal deferred the case to July after granting the Zimbabwean Government’s legal team an extension to file their arguments.

The tribunal reserved judgment on an application by the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Justice, a progressive grouping of Zimbabwean lawyers representing resettled farmers, who want to be part of the case as it directly affected them.

Analysts argue that it would have been awkward for the tribunal to make a ruling on a case of 78 people that would have affected more than 300 000 people and thousands more awaiting resettlement without hearing the arguments of the resettled farmers.

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