Invitation from Mills Fitchet re compensation/restitution


Dated: 23 MARCH, 2014

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The following letter of invitation from Mills Fitchet Natal South Africa is self explanatory and announces a series of meetings with farmers, commencing with a round table think-tank series of meetings on Monday 31 March and Tuesday 1 April 2014.  All Farmer Representative Organisations have been invited.

On Wednesday 2 April, Mills Fitchet would like to meet with all farmers in and around Harare at a venue and time to be announced (watch this space).  A meeting will also be held in Bulawayo, Matabeleland on Friday 4 April, convened by Mills Fitchet.

We would strongly encourage all farmers, regardless of affiliation, to diarise and make every effort to attend one of these meetings, which will centre around farm restitution/compensation issues and especially the valuation of claims.  These meetings will probably be the most important farmer meeting you’ll ever attend.

John Worsley-Worswick




We Value Our Land

Greetings all Zimbabwe Farmers               

Alan Stephenson and I are planning a visit to Harare and Bulawayo, sometime in the first week of April (date to be confirmed). The purpose of our visit is to give farmers a perspective of the value of agricultural land within the SADC Region and in particular South Africa, Swaziland and Zambia and how this compares to agricultural land in Zimbabwe, but for, the Fast Track Land Reform and Resettlement Programme (FTLRRP). Our assessment of the comparability between properties in Zimbabwe and the properties involved in comparable transactions within South Africa, Swaziland and Zambia are therefore not based on the circumstances as they are in Zimbabwe at present, but rather, as they would have been, had Zimbabwe not expropriated the properties and other commercial farmland in Zimbabwe pursuant to the internationally and legally challenged (SADC Tribunal) Constitutional Amendment No. 17.


Alan and I have visited Zimbabwe on a number of occasions from 2009 through to 2013. Our initial visit to Harare in 2009 was at the request of JAG who facilitated a meeting with the Valuation Consortium (Valcon) with the intention of sharing information on the Land Claims and the Compensation being paid for farms in South Africa (South African Land Claims) and the methodology used in determining a value for these properties. Our main purpose for the meeting was to identify whether there was any synergy between the two valuation companies that would potentially add value to the process of Restitution/Compensation for farmers in Zimbabwe.

Alan sits as an Assessor to the Land Claims Court and has undertaken numerous valuations on behalf of the Department of Land Affairs in South Africa.

 He has recently sat as an Expert Witness at the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID, under the World Bank) Tribunal Hearing in Washington D.C. To date we have valued farms in Zimbabwe, on behalf of numerous clients, with a combined extent of ±176,000 hectares.

These properties include:

• Game farms

• Game and cattle farms

• Mixed cropping farms (tobacco, maize, sorghum, groundnuts, winter wheat, soya)

• Citrus, soft fruits and apple orchards

• Coffee, macadamia nuts, avocados, banana and tea plantations

• Extensive timber land (including the net standing value of the timber)

• Small farms (hospitality & tourism), and;

• A smallholding

We continue to value properties on an ad-hoc basis for farmers living in Zimbabwe and abroad. Post the Dutch Case Award made in 2009, (Bernardus Henricus Funnekotter and Others, held at the World Bank’s Offices in Paris in 2007), we have been contracted to deal with those farmers and investors in the forefront of legal claims against the Government of Zimbabwe.

These cases include:

• Campbell and 77 Others versus Republic of Zimbabwe - Jarrett, Kockott and Cumming (International Public Law)

• Crawford Lindsay von Abo versus the Government of the Republic of South Africa and;

• ICSID (The International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes) – various Zimbabwean Companies (International Public Law)

In all these cases, full Valuation Reports (Regionally benchmarked) were completed, on time and at fees prescribed by the Institute of Valuers in South Africa. The fees charged are based on the Market Value of the property and range from 0.274% (R5.0m) to 0.0762% (R100m).

ICSID Tribunal Hearing (under the World Bank), Washington D.C.

Between 28 October and 02 November 2013, Alan attended the Tribunal Hearing in Washington D.C. as an Expert Witness representing various Companies in Zimbabwe. The valuation of the properties was based on the comparable sales method for the land uses and a contributory value for the buildings and improvements. The Hearing lasted six days and the lawyers representing the Claimants, presented a very strong case and legal argument as to the use of comparator transactions from within the SADC Region. Alan’s witness statements focussed on the comparable sales methodology of similar properties in South Africa, Swaziland and Zambia.

The comparator rates per hectare were applied to the various land use components in determining the land values. The outcome of the Tribunal Hearing is expected later this year and, in the event of the ruling being in favour of the Claimants, will mean that comparator values per hectare for various land uses in Zimbabwe can be benchmarked to land prices in the Region, but for, the FTLRRP.

For purposes of our reports, we were asked to value the properties as at two dates, namely:

• A current date; and

• 13 September 2005, the date immediately prior to the Constitutional Amendment No.17, when properties were directly or indirectly expropriated by the Government of Zimbabwe

Comparable Sales Data

We understand that the World Bank has recently provided funding to establish Regional Sales for purposes of determining a Global Figure for agricultural land in Zimbabwe. It is one thing to obtain sales of farms from the Deeds Office in South Africa, but an entirely different matter actually investigating these sales with the sellers, purchasers and estate agents within the industry to establish the type of farming conducted on it, the breakdown of land uses, the contributory value of the improvements, etc.

 It is a great shame that Mills Fitchet was not consulted earlier in this regard, as we have an extensive Regional data base on comparable sales mainly in South Africa, Swaziland and Zambia dating back to 1998 through to 2014.

This was one of the crucial points raised at our initial meeting with Valcon in 2009 in terms of benchmarking land prices in Zimbabwe. This information is critical in determining a rate per hectare for the different land uses in calculating the Market Value of a property, and especially important in the benchmarking of land prices in Zimbabwe, under the circumstances.

Purpose of our Visit

The purpose of our visit is twofold:

(i) Firstly, to develop amongst stakeholder organisations a sense of openness and transparency, which would see Restitution/Compensation issues addressed in the best interest of the whole farming community, in so far as farmers’ and farm workers’ legal/human rights are concerned. One would expect all who represent farmers in Restitution/Compensation matters to meaningfully contribute to this process.

(ii) Secondly, to follow up these discussions with farmers and discuss and offer

explanations on all aspects relating to the question of Restitution/Compensation.

We would hope that all organisations that represent farmers’ viewpoints and legal rights will participate and contribute to the following topics:

• To give an insight into what Mills Fitchet has achieved since Alan and Henry’s first visit to Zimbabwe in 2009 to date. This will include an overview of the methodology used in the valuations done to date for Zimbabwe farmers, including a sample of comparator values dating prior to the Constitutional Amendment No.17 and current.

• Discuss managing a farmer-owned database, where property owners can register and complete the Mills Fitchet Data Capture Form (DCF) for purposes of valuing the property.

• Desktop Valuation Report - comprises a brief initial valuation report with current comparable sales to determine a Market Value for the land and the buildings.

• Full Valuation Report - is a comprehensive valuation report with Market Values for the land and the buildings, using all and relevant current comparator transactions and comparator transactions prior to 13 September 2005. The report will also include a Summary of the Damages and Disturbance Losses incurred by

the owner (Loss Claim documentation to be supplied by the owner).

• Discuss the fee structures pertaining to Desktop Valuations and Full Valuations and terms of payment.

• Discuss the compilation of a Valuation Roll for agricultural properties in Zimbabwe compiled from the farmer owned database. We have the expertise and the capacity in compiling Valuation Rolls since 2007 and have done so for 21

Municipalities throughout KwaZulu-Natal in terms of the Municipal Property Rates Act 6 of 2004.

Items for discussion with farmers in Harare and Bulawayo will include the following:

• An overview of Mills Fitchet, including background visits to Zimbabwe and valuation reports completed to date (SADC 3, Crawford von Abo and the current ICSID case)

• Discuss the DCF and an example of how to complete the form

• Desktop valuation report versus Full valuation report

• Restitution/Compensation (to be included in full valuation report)

• Fee structure for desktop valuation and full valuation reports and payment terms

We look forward to meeting with you in Harare and will confirm the dates of our visit shortly.

At this point, we have provisionally earmarked the first week in April.

Yours faithfully

Henry Scotcher

Directors: Mills Fitchet (Natal) Pty Ltd

Reg No. 2003/004240/07

A R Stephenson (Managing) B Agric Mgt, AFM (UK), LLB (Natal), CEA, FIVSA

S B G de Klerk MSc, BSc Bldg (Wits), Pr.CPM, MCIOB, NDPV, MIVSA

L C Stephenson BA, HDE (Natal)


P O Box 114, Howick, 3290

KwaZulu- Natal, South Africa

Tel: +27 (0)33 330 6990

Fax: +27 (0)33 330 3518

E-mail: millsfitchet


Offices in:

Cape – Gauteng – KwaZulu-Natal

In association with Waverley Estates


T R L Bate MSc, BSc, Land Econ. (UK), MRICS, MIVSA

A R Gibbons AEI (Zim), FIVSA