Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

***The views expressed in the articles published on this website DO NOT necessarily express the views of the Commercial Farmers' Union.***

SA government not liable in Zim land grab cases

SA government not liable in Zim land grab cases

By Alex Bell
05 April 2011

South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal has let the country’s government off 
the financial hook, after ruling it is not liable in cases related to the 
unlawful land grab in Zimbabwe.

The court on Monday ruled that a High Court decision ordering the government 
to compensate a South African farmer for land invasions in Zimbabwe, was 
wrong in law.

Farmer Crawford von Abo established a large and profitable farming 
enterprise many years ago in Zimbabwe, but was left penniless when his 14 
farms were destroyed by land invasions under Robert Mugabe’s land grab 
scheme. Since 2008 Von Abo has tried to get the South African government to 
take diplomatic steps to address the violation of his rights in Zimbabwe, 
arguing that as a citizen, his government should have protected him.

In February 2010 the High Court 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.

But the Supreme Court of Appeal has now said that although South Africa’s 
response to Von Abo’s plight was ‘inappropriate’, the High Court made ‘vital 
mistakes of law’ when it made its decision last year.

“Despite that conclusion it found that the breach of the duty to respond 
appropriately to Mr Von Abo’s request could not legally give rise to 
liability for damages caused by the Zimbabwean government’s violation of Mr 
Von Abo’s human rights,” the court said in a media briefing.

South African lawyer Willie Spies, who has represented other South African 
farmers who are trying to fight the loss of their Zimbabwean farms, said the 
ruling is a disappointment. He agreed that a legal precedent has now been 
set that excludes the South African government from being liable in such 

“But watch this space,” Spies said, explaining: “The Von Abo case happened 
when there wasn’t a bilateral investment agreement (BIPPA) between South 
African and Zimbabwe.”

“If a similar case arises when land invasions happened during the time that 
a BIPPA has been signed, then the outcome in South Africa might be quite 
different,” Spies said.


Killer poacher jailed 18 years

Killer poacher jailed 18 years   3/7/2019 The Chronicle Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Court Reporter A POACHER who ganged up with a colleague and fatally attacked a

Read More »

New Posts: