News Briefs 3-08-06

Massive looting at Hopley
HARARE - Victims of last year's government clean-up exercise who are staying at Hopley Farm last weekend went on the rampage, looting food and building equipment after security guards manning the camp downed their tools over unpaid salaries.
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isplaced families and striking security guards joined hands to strip the holding camp of buildin bags of cement, window and door frames as well as bags of maize-meal.
Acting provincial social welfare officer for Harare, Ezekiel Mpande, who is in charge of Hopley Farm, confirmed the looting.
Last year, the Zimbabwe government said it was constructing thousands of houses across the country to house victims of the housing demolition exercise.
But very few houses have been completed so far. – ZimOnline

Governance the problem – Pocock
HARARE – Britain’s ambassador to Zimbabwe, Andrew Pocock said at the weekend President Robert Mugabe had squandered an opportunity to build bridges with the international community after it blocked United Nations secretary general Kofi Annan from visiting the country.
Pocock said Britain had hoped that Annan would use the visit to Zimbabwe to help mend relations with Britain and the rest of the international community.
“But the Zimbabwean government blocked the initiative, and with it an opportunity to build bridges within Zimbabwe, as well as with the international community,” he said.
Mugabe blocked Annan from visiting Zimbabwe, telling him that former Tanzanian president Benjamin Mkapa would mediate.
“The substance of the problem is not, as the government of Zimbabwe contends, a bilateral difference with the United Kingdom,” said Pocock.
“It is, rather, as the European Union, United States and many others in the international community have made clear, a problem between the government of Zimbabwe and its people. At its heart is the way Zimbabwe is governed.” – ZimOnline

War vets accuse Mudenge
MASVINGO – War veterans at Chikore Farm in the southern town of Masvingo are demanding Z$142 billion in compensation from higher education minister Stan Mudenge whom they accuse of forcibly harvesting and selling their tomato crop at the farm, which has been the subject of a bitter ownership dispute between the former liberation war fighters and the minister.
In a letter of demand to Mudenge, a copy of which was seen by ZimOnline, the war veterans say they will institute legal action against Mudenge if he fails to pay within seven days.
” We worked very hard to grow those crops but to our surprise you the minister only came to harvest,” read part of the letter.
Mudenge said he had not received the letter of demand from the war veterans but added that he was prepared to meet the former fighters in court over the disputed property.
“I do not own any other farm. Chikore Farm belongs to me and anyone intending to take it from me is like a person intending to take away my wife,” said the minister.
The war veterans invaded Chikore Farm in 2003 in what was a fresh round of farm invasions against the few remaining white farmers following the violent farm seizures that began in 2000.
Last year, state security minister Didymus Mutasa who is also in charge of land reform, ordered the former fighters to move out of the property to pave way for Mudenge. – ZimOnline

Reunion takes shape
JOHANNESBURG – Old Prunitians, former pupils of Plumtree School, are finalising plans for a reunion in Johannesburg over the weekend of September 1-3.
The gathering, mainly for pupils who left the Matabeleland school during the 1980s, has so far attracted 71 definite acceptances, 50 maybes, while 30 have sent regrets. Another 268 Old Prunitians were contacted but have not yet responded.
For golfers, the weekend will start with a golf day on the Friday, September 1, being organised by Wynt Bailey at Goldfields West Golf Club, Carltonville, from 11.00 am. The cost will be about R300 per player. That evening there will be a pub night from 6 pm. at the Voodoo Lounge (Glendower, Edenvale).
Bruce Reinders and Pancho Ndebele, both from SAB Miller, have offered beer sponsorship for the golf day – and more sponsors are welcome.
On Saturday, the organisers hope to have an open session at a sports bar to watch South Africa’s rugby match against the All Blacks at Rustenburg. The gala dinner Saturday night will be at the Indaba Hotel in Fourways. The Sunday is planned as a family fun day with details still to be arranged.
The cost of the gala dinner is R1 200 per couple, or R650 per person. The organisers hope this will also cover costs of the family day and invitations to teachers, including Mike Whiley and the Westwoods. – For further details contact the reunion team: email [email protected]

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