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Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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SADC will discuss land grabs

Sadc will discuss land grabs — Zuma

Sadc leaders will be under pressure to take action against Zimbabwean 
President Robert Mugabe over illegal land grabs
Published: 2011/05/10 06:34:02 AM

CAPE TOWN — President Jacob Zuma and fellow southern African leaders will 
again be under intense pressure to take action against Zimbabwean President 
Robert Mugabe later this month when they meet to consider a crucial report 
on his illegal land grabs.

In late 2008, the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) Tribunal 
ruled against Mr Mugabe’s government, insisting unanimously that a group of 
79 farmers had been denied access to justice in Zimbabwe and further ruling 
that they had been discriminated against because they were white. Mr Mugabe 
and his then government thumbed their noses at the tribunal ruling, saying 
it had no jurisdiction.

Since then Sadc leaders have prevaricated on just what to do about the 
ruling and Zimbabwe’s refusal to comply.

Democratic Alliance MP James Selfe had asked Mr Zuma, in a parliamentary 
question, what steps the justice ministers and attorneys-general of Sadc 
states believed should be taken against Mr Mugabe. Mr Zuma’s reply, tabled 
yesterday, said a report by the ministers and attorneys-general would be 
discussed at a Sadc leaders’ summit on May 19-20.

Mr Zuma’s reply also indicates the degree to which Sadc leaders have dragged 
their heels on the issue of tribunal rulings. It also shows reluctance to 
confront Mr Mugabe for his refusal.

Mr Zuma said about two years after the 2008 ruling that the Sadc heads of 
state “mandated the committee of ministers of justice and attorneys-general 
to consider the legal issues relating to Zimbabwe’s noncompliance with a 
ruling by the Sadc tribunal and also to conduct a review of the roles and 
responsibilities of the Sadc Tribunal with a view to strengthening it and 
improving its terms of reference.

“The summit also adopted the recommendation by the committee of ministers of 
justice and attorneys-general to commission a study which, in addition to 
covering the above matters, would also deal with the recognition and 
enforcement of decisions by the Sadc Tribunal.”

This effectively suspended the operations of the tribunal.

Mr Zuma said that in October Sadc leaders approved a panel of experts to 
conduct the study. This had now been completed and was considered by the 
justice ministers and attorneys-general last month.

“A report containing recommendations regarding these matters will be 
presented by the committee of ministers of justice and attorneys-general to 
a special Sadc Summit of Heads of State and Government to be held on May 
19-20 in Windhoek ,” Mr Zuma said.

DA parliamentary leader Athol Trollip, commenting on the reply, said: “The 
saddest thing of all this is that Sadc has undermined itself by not calling 
a member state to account and that Mike Campbell, the farmer who fought so 
courageously to win his farm back through the tribunal, has since died”.


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