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Zimbabwe & South Africa Sign Investment Protection Pact; Land Issues Cloudy

Some in Zimbabwe expressed surprise at MDC Economic Planning Minister Elton Mangoma's adoption of ZANU-PF Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa's position that Harare is not bound by the SADC tribunal's rulings

Zimbabwe and South Africa on Friday signed a Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement that has generated controversy over the protection of South African-owned farmland from seizure under Zimbabwean land reform but nonetheless strengthens economic ties across the Limpopo River.

In remarks at the signing in Harare, Zimbabwean Economic Development and Promotion Minister Elton Mangoma stated that Harare is not legally bound by a Southern African Development Community tribunal ruling against the approach to land reform adopted by President Robert Mugabe since 2000. But Mangoma said the disposessed farmers will eventually be compensated.

Some in Zimbabwe expressed surprise at Mangoma's seeming adoption of the position taken by Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa that Zimbabwe is not subject to the rulings of the Windhoek, Namibia, based SADC tribunal.

The Movement for Democratic Change formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, to which the economic planning minister belongs, has been very critical of Chinamasa and his ZANU-PF party over their repudiation of the SADC court's jurisdiction, calling them in contempt of court.

Human rights lawyer Dewa Mavhinga told VOA StudiMo 7 reporter Blessing Zulu that Mangoma's comments on the tribunal are disturbing.