Judgment on Zimbabwe case reserved

2013-02-28 22:27

Johannesburg - The Constitutional Court reserved judgment on Thursday on whether South African courts could enforce rulings made by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) tribunal against Zimbabwe.

The court would deliberate and the affected parties would be called back to court within several weeks.

The matter involves 78 Zimbabwean farmers who lost their farms during that country's land grabs.

In 2007, the SADC Tribunal ruled that the farmers be compensated by the Zimbabwean government.

Zimbabwean officials ignored two of the tribunal's orders. The farmers then approached the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria to have the orders enforced in South Africa.

The high court ordered the seizure of several Cape Town properties which were owned by the Zimbabwean government.

Zimbabwe approached the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria to have the ruling revoked. The application was denied.

Zimbabwe then asked the Supreme Court of Appeal to intervene. Their application was again dismissed.

In its application to the Constitutional Court, Zimbabwe argued that protocol did not allow for a judgment obtained against Zimbabwe to be enforced in South Africa.

AfriForum lawyer Willie Spies expressed his satisfaction with the course of the trial.

"If the appeal by Zimbabwe is dismissed, international legal history will be made, as the planned sale will be the first sale in execution of property belonging to a state that had been found guilty of gross human rights violations," he said.

AfriForum has been helping the Zimbabwean farmers with their legal action.

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