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S. African High Court Clears Way for Seizure of Zimbwean State Properties

  • Tatenda Gumbo

The High Court permitted the seizure of the property after a Southern African Development Community Tribunal ruling in 2008 that found the takeover of the farmers’ land to be illegal and discriminatory

The South African High Court has dismissed appeals by Harare to reverse the seizure of Zimbabwean assets in Cape Town by three white Zimbabwean commercial farmers.

The High Court permitted the seizure of the property after a Southern African Development Community Tribunal ruling in 2008 that found the takeover of the farmers’ land to be illegal and discriminatory.

The properties in South Africa will be auctioned and the proceeds paid to the former white farmers, one of whom, Mike Campbell, passed away in April. The other two farmers are Richard Etheridge and Louis Fick.

A property in Kenilworth, Cape Town, said to be worth US$300,000 is set to be auctioned off once a date has been scheduled. A final order for the remaining properties in Zonnebloem and Wynberg, Cape Town will be set.

The Harare government has rejected the ruling by the Tribunal, whose legal functions are under review by SADC based on Zimbabwean challenges.

But the farmers with the help of non-governmental organization AfriForum, appealed to South African courts to register the ruling by the SADC Tribunal and are enforcing it. The Tribunal allows any ruling to be registered and enforced by a SADC member country.

Leane du Plessis, spokeswoman for AfriForum, told VOA Studio 7 reporter Tatenda Gumbo that the decision sets an important precedent for SADC countries

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