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AFRI-FORUM attaches Zimbabwe Property in Cape Town
By Stanley Kwenda

Johannesburg: A South African based pressure group on Tuesday attached a luxury property belonging to the Zimbabwean government in Cape Town as part of restorative measures aimed at compensating white commercial farmers who lost their farms in a controversial land reform programme launched in 2000 by the Zanu PF government. “Today Afri - Forum instructed the Sheriff of Cape Town to attach a luxury property of the Zimbabwean government, at 28 Salisbury Road, Cape Town, on behalf of Zimbabwean farmers,” Afri – Forum spokesperson Willies Spies told The Zimbabwean. In November 2008, the SADC Tribunal ruled in favour of Chegutu farmer Michael Campbell and 78 other Zimbabwean farmers that the Zimbabwean Government’s land reform programme was racist and unlawful. In his reaction to this, President Robert Mugabe described the ruling as “nonsense and of no consequence” to Zimbabwe.

The move to attach Zimbabwe government property come after South African courts agreed last month to register that landmark ruling recognising the rights of the white farmers. Spies said, “We just want to show that a regime can be fought through civil sanctions that are one reason why we have taken this course.” The property is one of the four earmarked for annexure.

The others are in Zonneblom and Wynberg all in Cape Town.The Pretoria High Court ruled on February 26 that a SADC ruling, not recognised in Zimbabwe, be registered in South Africa and that a costs order of R160 000 was enforceable in SA.

In terms of the tribunal’s ruling, the farmers are protected from further persecution and prosecution under Zimbabwe’s racially discriminatory land seizure programme. Afri – Forum has been involved in cases seeking restorative justice in Zimbabwe.

Last year Afri -Forum launched a very successful campaign protesting against an international beverages firm’s dealings with Mugabe.

Nestle was forced to stop buying milk from Mugabe’s Gushungo Estates after the group launched a Nestle product boycott.The civil rights initiative, AfriForum, today instructed the Sheriff of Cape Town to attach a luxury property of the Zimbabwean government, at 28 Salisbury Road, Cape Town, on behalf of Zimbabwean farmers.

This follows after a legal battle spanning several months, undertaken by AfriForum on behalf of farmers in Zimbabwe, which forms part of AfriForum’s civil sanction campaign against Zimbabwe.In November 2008, the SADC Tribunal ruled in favour of Mr Michael Campbell and 78 other Zimbabwean farmers that the Zimbabwean Government’s land reform programme was racist and unlawful.

In his reaction to this, Pres Robert Mugabe described the ruling as “nonsense and of no consequence” to Zimbabwe.

The tribunal followed up its ruling with a contempt ruling and costs order in June 2009.On 26 February 2010, the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria registered these rulings in South Africa. They are now rulings of a South African court and as such the cost order is a judgement that can be executed locally.In 2009 AfriForum also launched a very successful campaign when it became known that an international dairy company was purchasing milk from a farm that had been confiscated by the Mugabe-regime and transferred to Pres Mugabe’s wife, Ms Grace Mugabe. International pressure lead to a decision by the dairy company not to purchase milk from the said farm.

The fate of South African farmers
Mr Louis Fick (the first applicant in the current legal process) is a South African citizen, farming on Friedawil in the Chinhoyi-district. His farm was earmarked for land redistribution and he was effectively chased off his land last year. At the moment, MrFick is standing trial on criminal charges that he “failed to co-operate with the Zimbabwean land reform programme”. If found guilty, he faces a sentence of two years in a Zimbabwean jail.

MrFick could not join today’s process, as he is on Friedawil to try and recover his remaining personal movable assets from the homestead, after the home had been burgled and looted.Last year when it became known that the South African Government was on the verge of entering a bilateral investment agreement that would exclude South African farmers from protection, AfriForum assisted MrFick in an attempt to obtain an interdict against the signing of such a discriminating treaty.

The matter was settled, and the South African Government recommitted itself to the protection of South African farmers, as well as to the upholding of the already mentioned SADC Tribunal’s ruling.

AfriForum regards it as our duty to hold the South African government to these commitments.

More particulars of future legal and civil action will be announced in due course.





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