White Zimbabwean Farmers To Get Justice In South Africa

By: Ainsley Brown

Four white farmers who had their farms unlawfully seized under the regime of President Robert Mugabe are to seek by all accounts gain compensation in South Africa.

A South African court has ruled recently that the farmers have the right to seek out and seize Zimbabwean government property in South Africa. The North Gauteng High Court ruled that the judgment in favour of the farmers handed down in December 2008 by a Southern African Development Community (SADC) tribunal was fully enforceable in South Africa. With this ruling the High Court made it clear, if there was any doubt, that as a signatory of the SADC treaty South Africa has an obligation to uphold and enforce judgments coming from a SADC tribunal.

The ruling clears the path for non-diplomatic property owned by the government of Zimbabwe to be subject to a writ of attachment, seized, and possibly sold to satisfy the judgment. Additionally, it also clears the path for similar moves by other white farmers.

But why South Africa? Zimbabwe is also a signatory of SADC, why not enforce the tribunals judgment there?

The simple answer is that for these farmers South Africa wasn’t so much a matter of choice but one of necessity. In fact the same could be said of the use of the SADC tribunal. The framers only tuned to the tribunal when it was clear that they could not get justice at home – the Zimbabwean judges being either complicit or too afraid to stand up to the Mugabe regime.

The SADC tribunal’s ruled in December 2008 that the farm seizures were racist and were an act of thief. It ordered the government to compensate those farmers that had lost their property and to leave those farmers remaining unmolested to continue their farming activities.

This was a great victory for the farmers, well so they thought until they tried to get the tribunal’s judgment registered and enforced in Zimbabwe. There they encountered the usual judicial opposition, this time with a judge dismissing their application because of the enormity of reversing the President’s land seizures.

Imagine that a judge dismissing your case because of the enormity/implications for an illegal government policy; just imagine. To that I have these words and I shall say them thrice: Rule of Law, Rule of Law, Rule of Law.

Fortunate for the farmers the High Court in South Africa knows and will fully up hold the Rule of Law.

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About Ainsley Brown

Ainsley Brown is currently working as the Director of Trade, Regulatory, Analysis & Policy for the Jamaica Special Economic Zone Authority (JSEZA) and is called to the Bar of Upper Canada (Ontario), Canada. His primary role is to provide technical advice on regulatory matters and trade matters to the CEO and team at JSEZA. He holds a LLM in International Commercial Law (with Merit) from the University of Westminster, having earned a diploma in law from London Metropolitan University and a BA (Hons) in Political Science from the University of Western Ontario. Ainsley is the Administrator of Commercial Law International and has an avid interest in logistics, global value chains; economic development; trade; commercial awareness; green energy; rugby; etc.
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2 Responses to White Zimbabwean Farmers To Get Justice In South Africa

  1. Jon Moses says:

    My beloved country Zimbabwe is weeping because of Robert Mugabe. I consider these days to be worst time ever since Mugabe took the control of Zimbabwe. I will not go into the details how corrupt our leaders are. Along with corruption they dont’t even care if poor people live or die.

    Mugabe and his government have sold our country for few dollars and now our national interests are also on sale by him. After 30 years of rulling Zimbabwe Mr. Mugabe still wants to suck more blood out of Zimbabweans. When I think about the situation in Zimbabwe my heart really goes, looking at the necessity which Zimbabweans does not have, such a Sugar, Wheat flour, Electricity, Gas, Jobs, clean drinking water and there is huge list which goes on and on that Zimbabweans as a nation does not enjoy.

    However, leaders of our beloved country have refused to give up the office and the power so some new leaders with strong ambitions can repair the damage which our country has suffered over the decades. Along with denial to give up powers our leaders have turned a blind eye to the problems of poor Zimbabweans and they are enjoying a lavishing life style.

    I always wonder why Zimbabwe does not utilizes the young Zimbabweans to produce various items which can later be sold in the international market such as Airplanes, Fast Trains, Weapon and war technology and various other items. Leaders of Zimbabwe have pledged to neglect this nation and they are extremely busy filling their own pockets with stolen poor people’s money.

    I pray to God that the injustice vanishes soon and we see a real and authentic leader who can lead us through prosperity and happiness. I belive the leaders of Zimbabwe have failed to look after our beloved country and they have also failed to show care. We as a nation should unite together and raise against the ignorance we face today. Thank you – Jon.

  2. Pingback: White Zimbabwean Farmers To Get Justice In South Africa II | Commercial Law International

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