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Southern African Development Community

Volume 711: debated on Tuesday 2 June 2009

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of whether any Southern African Development Community country will follow Zimbabwe in adopting white persons land-ownership policies; and what countries they consider may do so. [HL3585]

British missions in Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries closely follow developments in their respective countries, including on land reform, through contact with relevant government ministries and representatives from the farming industry. SADC Governments, bar Zimbabwe, have expressed their commitment to land reform policies based on a “willing seller, willing buyer” approach and on fair commercial valuation of farms. We do not believe that other SADC countries will interpret their land reform policies in a similar way to Zimbabwe. The SADC Tribunal, based in Namibia, made a landmark ruling in November 2008 in favour of Zimbabwean commercial farmers in a case against the Government of Zimbabwe. This ruling declared that the land reform process in Zimbabwe was illegal and that the appellants had been subject to racial discrimination, highlighting the disparity in land reform policies between Zimbabwe and other SADC countries. The UK has always supported a fair, pro-poor and transparent land reform policy in Africa.