AfriForum wants answers on Zim

2010-06-16 21:03

Johannesburg - Lobby group AfriForum is considering legal action against the South African government after it failed to meet a deadline to explain what it would do to protect South African citizens and property in Zimbabwe, it said on Wednesday.

Last year the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria ruled the government was obliged to protect citizens who felt their property rights were threatened there.

On June 9, AfriForum served a lawyer's letter to the department of trade and industry to demand the South African government to intervene urgently to protect citizens in Zimbabwe. There was no reply by their deadline midnight June 15.

These steps come after AfriForum's concerns that South Africans farming in Zimbabwe had become subject to "renewed, exacerbated onslaughts of land grabbers".

AfriForum's deputy chief executive officer Alana Bailey said it was "outrageous" that the government did not take steps to comply with its undertaking, but invited Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe to the Soccer World Cup.

Mugabe has been blamed by many observers for the difficult economic conditions Zimbabwe found itself in over the last decade, mostly as a result of a controversial land redistribution programme.

AfriForum also congratulated Ben Freeth - an activist for Zimbabwean farmers who had lost their land, and whose work was covered in a documentary "Mugabe and the White African".

He was honoured with an MBE (Member of the British Empire) by the UK's Queen Elizabeth II for "services to the farming community in Zimbabwe".