Zimbabwe farmer loses appeal against SA government

The Supreme Court of Appeal today ruled against Free State businessman Crawford von Abo, who wanted the South African government to compensate him for farms he lost in Zimbabwe.

SABC radio news reported that the Supreme Court of Appeal set aside a judgment by a high court that ordered the government to pay him compensation for the property he lost during the land redistribution programme in Zimbabwe.

This was because the South African government failed to respond to his request for diplomatic protection.

The Supreme Court of Appeal held that even though South Africa’s response to Von Abo was inappropriate, it did not give him legal rights to financial compensation.

Von Abo built up a large farming enterprise over 50 years in Zimbabwe, but was left penniless after his 14 farms were virtually destroyed by land invasions.

He had, since 2008, tried to get the South African government to take diplomatic steps to address the violation of his rights in Zimbabwe.

In February 2010, the High Court in Johannesburg found that the South African government had a constitutional obligation to provide diplomatic protection and ordered that it had 60 days to take all necessary steps to have Von Abo’s violation of rights by Zimbabwe remedied.

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