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.***

Zim fights SA ruling in favour of farmers

Zim fights SA ruling in favour of farmers

By Alex Bell
15 April 2011

The Zimbabwe’s government has this week resumed its fight to have three 
South African court rulings, in favour of dispossessed farmers in Zimbabwe, 

Last year, several properties and other assets belonging to the Zim 
government were identified for auction, as possible compensation for South 
African farmers who have lost land in Robert Mugabe’s land grab scheme.

A 2008 regional ruling, declaring Mugabe’s land ‘reform’ program as 
‘unlawful’ has been ignored and legally dismissed in Zimbabwe, leaving 
farmers with no choice but to seek justice elsewhere. Farmers then 
approached the South Africa civil rights group, AfriForum, to have that same 
ruling made by the human rights court of the Southern African Development 
Community (SADC), registered in South Africa.

The South African High Court last year ruled in favour of the farmers, 
stating that the SADC Tribunal ruling, including a later order to pay costs 
to the farmers, should be honoured.

But the attachment of the properties prompted Zimbabwe to launch its own 
application to have the High Court decisions overturned, claiming diplomatic 

Lawyers for the Zimbabwe government argued this week that a South African 
court did not have jurisdiction to register the SADC rulings, on the basis 
of ‘sovereignty’. The lawyer said it was “not appropriate” for the court to 
have granted the order, and was ‘premature’ as Zimbabwe had raised the 
question of jurisdiction with SADC.

In a shock move, SADC last year effectively suspended the Human Rights 
Tribunal. This came after Zimbabwe’s refusal to honour the courts rulings, 
but instead of criticizing Zimbabwe, SADC decided to review the role and 
function of the Tribunal, effectively suspending all further cases.

The farmers’ legal representative, Jeremy Gauntlett, meanwhile described 
Zimbabwe’s application this week as “an out-of-time, 

“They did not think their properties and aircraft were at risk. This 
application is a misconceived tactic by a cynical and confused litigant,” he 

The judge has reserved judgment in the case


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