oa Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa - Constitutional challenge to land reform in Zimbabwe

Volume 31, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0010-4051



Since independence in 1980, the government of Zimbabwe has embarked on a programme of land reform, the National Land Policy (NLP), designed to redress the inequitable ownership of land during the colonial and minority regime eras by redistributing land for resettlement from large-scale farmers, inevitably belonging to the white minority population, to communal farmers belonging to the black majority, and thus address some of the iniquities of Rhodesia's history. In order to implement this policy the Land Acquisition Act 3 of 1992 was adopted, empowering the president and other authorities to acquire land for the resettlement of the black rural population. This author predicted that a judicial challenge to the constitutionality of the legislation was inescapable. That prediction has since been fulfilled in the case of Davies and Others v The minister of Land, Agriculture and Water Development, which eventually came before the Supreme Court in 1996. The purpose of the present article is to consider the pronouncements of the Zimbabwean courts on this controversial issue.

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