A South African man and his family, who've been farming in Zimbabwe for over 10 years, were removed from their farm on Friday evening by a large group of so-called war veterans.
Louis Fick of Friedawil farm outside Chinhoyi said on Sunday that he had been unable to feed the roughly 4,000 pigs on his farm since Friday. Some of his workers were assaulted on Friday night, family members were threatened with violence, and some of his pigs were slaughtered. "We are so disheartened because there seems to be no-one who can help us," said Fick.
War vets paid to chase off family
Theo de Jager, deputy president of Agri SA and a family member of Fick, said on Sunday he had learnt that a high-level official of the Zimbabwean Reserve Bank had paid these war veterans to remove the Fick family from their farm.
"The South African embassy is powerless and everyone simply shrugs their shoulders. It can't go on like this."
According to Fick, a group of about 10 war veterans had been living on his farm since April last year. "The idea is that we work and farm together on the land, but it doesn't work that way," said Fick. "They took over the largest part of the farm (about 400 hectares) last year, and they control access to the farm. If I order feed for the animals, it can't be driven in through the farm gate. It is dropped there and then my workers and I must get it onto the farm ourselves. They try to make everything as difficult as possible for me."
Every now and then, an even larger group of veterans arrived to invade more of the farm.
De Jager said Fick had been locked in prison several times for days on end, apparently because he refused to hand over control of his farm to the veterans.
On Friday, there were between 50 and 60 war veterans at the farm. "They let my cattle out to trample all over my garden, they assaulted my workers, and one worker's eardrum burst as a result of the beating... Several of my workers, who had been living on the farm for years, had to flee for their lives."
This time the veterans supposedly wanted to "share" Fick's pigs and pig pens with him. "We just hope someone can apply enough pressure to force them to allow us back on the farm, but in Zimbabwe you can't simply pick up the phone to get someone to come and help," added Fick.
De Jager said farmers' organisations in Zimbabwe were increasingly informing him of farmers being forced off their land.