Zimbabwean farmers secure landmark ruling
A trio of Zimbabwean farmers have completed a stunning court victory after fighting for land that was seized in President Robert Mugabe's land reforms.
The ruling by South Africa’s Constitutional Court yesterday means that lawyers representing the farmers can now arrange for the sale in execution of a Zimbabwe government property in Kenilworth, Cape Town, estimated to be worth about R3.5m (£231,000), reports BDLive.
The case began in 2007 when the farmers challenged Zimbabwe’s land-reform policy before the tribunal, seeking a ruling that the takeover of their farms by their government without compensation was unlawful.
The farmers won the tribunal, ordering Zimbabwe to pay compensation. However Zimbabwe failed to pay and another tribunal decision found the country guilty of contempt and ordered it to pay the costs to the farmers. It is this cost order that Zimbabwe was challenging in South Africa’s courts — and lost.
The property had been attached to satisfy the cost order the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) tribunal granted against Zimbabwe for being in contempt of the earlier ruling.
The court threw out Zimbabwe’s appeal to rescind the costs order the tribunal had made and a South African court had enforced. Furthermore, the judgment means all tribunal decisions against Zimbabwe will be enforceable in South Africa.