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South African Court Blocks Delivery of Helicopters to Zimbabwe

  • Tatenda Gumbo

A South African High Court has upheld a January court ruling stopping helicopters from being donated to the Zimbabwe Defense Forces.

A North Gauteng High Court delivered the ruling Thursday after rights group, AfriForum, moved to stop the delivery of the helicopters.

AfriForum argued Zimbabwe has a history of human rights violations and may use the fleet to intimidate ordinary Zimbabweans as the country heads for elections.

AfriForum also said the gift of old Alouette helicopters was not cleared by South Africa's official arms control committee that vets weapons exports to recipient countries embargoed for their human rights record.

Under South African constitutional law, according to the group, there must be a process to establish a human rights record whenever military equipment or assistance is given to any country.

Willie Spies, the group's legal representative, said the next hearing will be asking the court to scrap the delivery altogether.