The Southern African Commercial Farmers’ Alliance (Safca) has warned the Zimbabwean government to brace for more seizures of its assets across the Limpopo as farmers who lost their properties in the land reform programme step up compensation lawsuits.
Last Monday, the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria sanctioned the auction of Harare’s assets in the neighbouring country after ruling in favour of three white farmers – Louis Fick, Richard Etheredge and the late Mike Campbell.
So far, the farmers’ legal team AfriForum has seized three of the Zimbabwean government’s properties in South Africa and these are set to go under the hammer anytime.
Safca chairman Christopher Jarrett on Wednesday warned “more is yet to come”.
“The government was just causing problems for itself by pushing for the suspension of the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) Tribunal,” he said.
“The Campbell case has been judged, the cat is now out of the bag and more is yet to come.”
Jarrett said they were elated about the judgment, especially on behalf of Campbell, who died before the ruling was passed.
The ruling stated that Sadc law was supreme over domestic laws and constitutions.
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“. . . In terms of the Sadc Treaty, the Protocol on the Tribunal is part of the Treaty and as such becomes part of national law . . . Since the applicant (Government of the Republic of Zimbabwe) has subscribed to the Treaty and therefore also the Protocol . . . this court has jurisdiction over the applicant . . .”
“. . . Having signed the Treaty and adopted it. . . It is not for the applicant to now renege on its obligation . . . Under those circumstances, it seems to me that the applicant has clearly waived its right to immunity in terms of the Treaty,” said Pretoria High Court Judge Claassen in the ruling.
Although Justice and Legal Affairs minister Patrick Chinamasa could not be reached for comment on Wednesday, he has in the past said Zimbabwe would not comply with the Sadc Tribunal rulings, saying the organisation was not properly constituted.