Friday, April 02, 2010

I am confused.

I was with great interest that I read the article that Afriforum seized a property in Cape Town that belongs to the Zimbabwe government.

Civil law is somewhat different from criminal law and I thought that this was an ingenious way to compensate the Zimbabwean farmers for farms lost.

And in the article it is made abundantly clear that the South African government has committed itself to uphold the SADC tribunal ruling. And the ruling was in favor of Michael Campbell and 78 Zimbabwean farmers that the land reform program in Zimbabwe was “racist and unlawful”


Now I read that this very same South African government will fight a court ruling that allow the seizure of property

The South African government is going down a very scary path here…

SA to challenge Zimbabwe farmers compensation ruling
SOUTH Africa’s government today said it would fight a court ruling that allowed white farmers who lost land under President Robert Mugabe’s reforms to claim a Zimbabwean state-owned house.

The R2.5-million house in Cape Town was legally seized on Tuesday after a court said a regional ruling that Zimbabwe’s government must compensate the farmers was enforceable in South Africa.

“We are appealing the judgment,” South Africa’s foreign affairs head of diplomacy Kgomotso Molobi told AFP.

The regional Southern African Development Community (SADC) tribunal found in 2008 that Zimbabwe had wrongly taken land from nearly 80 farmers, saying they had been targeted due to their race.

Zimbabwe rejected the verdict, but a South African court in February ruled that it could be applied locally. The house in the Cape Town suburb of Kenilworth was not protected by diplomatic immunity and was legally attached or seized by the sheriff’s office on Tuesday.

An appeal against the court ruling by the South African government will be opposed, the farmers’ lawyer Willie Spies said on Friday. “If they challenge this, then obviously we will oppose the challenge,” he said.

Mugabe launched the land reforms a decade ago, aiming to correct a colonial legacy that left whites owning most of the best farmland. But the chaotic campaign was marred by deadly political violence and wrecked the farm-based economy, leaving the country dependent on international food aid.

Afriforum seizes Zim property

CIVIL rights group Afriforum seized a Cape Town property belonging to the Zimbabwean state today, saying the move was the start of a “civil sanctions” campaign against President Robert Mugabe’s government.

“This is a process aimed at helping all the people of Zimbabwe in a way that creates hope and shows that it is possible for civil society to institute civil sanctions against a regime that does not help its people,” Willie Spies, a lawyer for Afriforum said outside of offices of the sheriff for the district of Cape Town.

The process started in November 2008 when the Southern African Development Community (SADC) tribunal ruled in favour of Michael Campbell and 78 Zimbabwean farmers that the land reform programme in the country was “racist and unlawful”.

Mugabe described the ruling as “nonsense and of no consequence” to Zimbabwe.

The tribunal followed up its ruling with a contempt ruling and costs order in June last year. On February 26, the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria registered the tribunal’s rulings.

Four Zimbabwean properties in the Cape Town suburbs of Zonneblom, Kenilworth and Wynberg were initially identified. Afriforum agreed to only attach the Kenilworth property, located in Salisbury Road, at this stage as its value – estimated at around R2.5 million – was sufficient to cover the cost of the order.

Zimbabwean Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa dismissed the High Court’s move as “null and void”, calling the attempts to attach assets nothing more than “political grandstanding” and the properties were under diplomatic immunity.

Spies said “Zimbabwean farmers, workers and ordinary citizens” asked Afriforum for help in taking the legal process further in South Africa in September last year.

“What happened today is the attachment of a property situated in Kenilworth. It is being leased to a third party tenant. The fact that it is being leased makes it a commercial property, which makes it liable for attachment as a result of the court order.”

Spies said the attachment was not a recovery for damages for farmers who had lost their land.

It was, he said, “a symbolic gesture to show it was possible to enforce legal principles against Zimbabwean government in South Africa”.

“We see it as a way to send out a message to show the Zimbabwean government that there are certain consequences to their abuse of human rights,” he said.

The South African government last year committed itself to upholding SADC tribunal ruling.

“The message we are getting from the Zimbabwean people is that they are encouraged by this. It gives them hope to be able to see things are happening with their neighbours’ help.

“The process we are following here is the only hope they have got. We do that to encourage them and to tell them there are people out there who are still fighting.”

Spies said Afriforum was aware of other commercial creditors of Zimbabwean government who were interested in joining the civil proceedings.

2 Opinion(s):

Exzanian said...

Be confused no longer: ANC = ZANU.
Peas in a pod. They are one and the same; the ANCPF is just a little bit behind big brother, still pretending to use the tools provided by the constitution to get its way. When that no longer works, they will pull out the sledgehammer, the pick axe and the flint stone if necessary.

Lime Lite said...

Confused? I'm not. The ANC owes Zanu PF their existance. Mugabe is their idol. Did you really think that the ANC would turn against them...ever? No, SA will follow the Zim route. No Western government has condemned Mugabe outright and this gives the ANC the green flag. When Mandela dies is the day the ANC shows it's true colors as they won't have to keep his image intact any longer.