Zimbabwe government property in Cape Town sold for millions
21 September 2015
International legal history was made today when the first sale in execution of a Zimbabwean property in South Africa took place as a direct result of President Robert Mugabe's human rights abuses in his country.
The property, situated at 28 Salisbury Road, Kenilworth, Cape Town was sold to a private bidder for an amount of R3 760 000.
AfriForum successfully assisted a group of dispossessed Zimbabwean commercial farmers to enforce a 2008 ruling by the Southern African Development Community’s regional court, the SADC Tribunal, in South Africa. The tribunal ruled that Mugabe's land grabs were unlawful, racist and in contravention of applicable international law.
After a five-year legal battle, the property was auctioned because the Zimbabwe government failed to honor cost orders of South Africa’s High Court, Supreme Court of Appeal and the Constitutional Court.
AfriForum began assisting dispossessed Zimbabwean farmers and human rights activists in the country in a legal battle six years ago after Mugabe refused to comply with the order of the SADC Tribunal that his illegal land grabs had to stop.
The order was registered in the High Court in Pretoria and AfriForum's lawyers, for the first time in March 2010, attached the property in Cape Town following the enforcement order granted then.
After unsuccessful attempts by the Zimbabwe government in the Pretoria High Court, the Supreme Court of Appeal and the Constitutional Court, to rescind the registration of the judgment in South Africa, the Sheriff of Wynberg North proceeded with the auction today.
AfriForum regards its litigation against the Zimbabwe government as a civil sanction campaign against the ongoing and systemic abuse of human rights and the rule of law, and the destruction of land ownership in Zimbabwe.
“This was the first time in history that a decision of a human rights tribunal in Africa lead to the sale of a property of the country that has been guilty of human rights abuses,” says Willie Spies, AfriForum’s legal representative.
AfriForum is also assisting dispossessed Zimbabwean farmers in a separate lawsuit against President Jacob Zuma and his ministers of justice and international relations. This lawsuit is in response to the South African government's complicity in the illegal process that led to the suspension of the SADC Tribunal's power to adjudicate on human rights abuses against citizens of member states.
The case will be heard in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria early next year.
Statement issued by Willie Spies, Legal Representative, AfriForum, September 21 2015