Afriforum gets one Zim property to auction off

2010-11-22 10:59

The Zimbabwean government managed to save two out of three properties that a German bank and evicted farmers wanted to auction off for money owed to them.

The High Court in Johannesburg ruled today that one property in Kenilworth, Cape Town, belonging to the Zimbabwean government could be auctioned off, said civil rights group Afriforum’s lawyer Willie Spies.

But two other properties which Afriforum and German banking group KFW Bank Gruppe were also hoping to auction off, enjoyed diplomatic protection, the court ruled, according to Spies.

“The court said there was not enough evidence to prove that the other two properties were being used commercially.

This lent diplomatic protection to those properties.”

The two properties were in Zonnebloem and Wynberg.

But the court agreed that the Kenilworth property could be auctioned off because it was being rented out to a third party which showed that it was being used commercially, which meant it no longer enjoyed diplomatic protection.

Spies said that property could fetch anything between R1 million and R3 million, which would be proportionally paid out to the three farmers and the German bank.

He said the farmers would probably only receive a small proportion.

“But they did this to establish certain law principles for the future. This is about the principle and land reform and the infringements of rights,” said Spies.

Afriforum earlier this year started the process of attaching the three properties in Zonnebloem, Kenilworth and Wynberg to pay compensation to three evicted Zimbabwean farmers.

This was “to give effect to an earlier order granted by the North Gauteng High Court in favour of three farmers Louis Fick, Michael Campbell and Richard Etheredge”.

The court ruled in the farmer’s favour after a Southern African Development Community (SADC) tribunal ruled in November 2008 that Zimbabwe’s land reform process was illegal and racist, and ordered that evicted farmers be paid compensation.

The Zimbabwean government lodged a court application to stop the auctions and this was what the court ruled this morning.

Another group, German banking group KFW Bank Gruppe, has in the meantime also attached the same properties, because Zimbabwe owes it more than € 40 million (about R383.2 million).

President Robert Mugabe’s administration started often violent land seizures in 2 000, forcing about 4 000 farmers from their land.

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