Last week a South African court dismissed an appeal by the Zimbabwean government against the North Gauteng High Court decision in 2010, which upheld the 2008 ruling by the SADC Tribunal that the land grab in Zimbabwe was unlawful.
That High Court decision was the result of a legal challenge lodged by farmers who lost land in Zimbabwe during the land grab, and who were forced to turn to South Africa for assistance when Zimbabwe refused to honour the regional human rights Tribunal.
The decision last week by the Supreme Court of Appeal has now been widely applauded for setting a precedent in the Southern African region by upholding the rule of law. It means that Zimbabwean properties in Cape Town face being auctioned to compensate the farmers.
But ZANU PF Minister Didymus Mutasa has now said that the government will call on South Africa’s ruling ANC party to make a political decision and block the auction.
“What they (farmers) are fighting is not about land, but to trouble the government of Zimbabwe. After this judgment, which is legal, we should let it go and we speak to the ANC and take a political decision. I hope that is possible,” Mutasa said.
At the same time, a ZANU PF aligned advocate who was part of the Zimbabwe legal team, Martin Dinha, has also branded the ruling ‘racist’ and against international laws.
“South Africa’s judiciary is not yet liberated from apartheid; it has
cosmetic liberation. South Africa remains a colony of white Rhodesians and
apartheid,” said Dinha, who is also the Mashonaland Central governor.
Former Chegutu farmer Ben Freeth said such a reaction is unsurprising because of the “dictatorship in Zimbabwe, where there is no separation of the state from the judiciary.”
“It’s an entirely predictable reaction born out of sour grapes which shows contempt for the South African courts,” Freeth said.
Willie Spies, one of the lawyers who represented the farmers in the case, said that South Africa has “done its best to uphold the constitution and uphold the division between the judiciary and the state.” He said it was “frightening” that Zimbabwe was playing the “race card” to seek political inference in the case, and it will be “interesting” to see what happens. – SW Radio Africa NewsPost published in: News