- Title: SOUTH AFRICA: White farmers claim Zimbabwe property in South Africa
- Date: 31st March 2010
- Summary: AVENTURA, SOUTH AFRICA (FILE) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF ZANU-PF SUPPORTERS IN TRUCK/ WOMEN SINGING CLOSE UP OF MAN WEARING ZANU-PF SUPPORT SHIRT/ MAN WALKING WIDE OF FARM HOUSE COWS MORE OF SUPPORTERS
- Embargoed: 15th April 2010 13:00
- Location: South Africa
- Country: South Africa
- Topics: Legal System
- Reuters ID: LVAED63VWBF2OARNLPI3FNZOYOI4
- Story Text: White farmers whose land was seized under Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's land reforms have claimed a house owned by his government in South Africa.
Lawyers representing white Zimbabwe farmers on Tuesday (March 30) received ownership documents to lay claim to property owned by Zimbabwean government officials in Cape Town, South Africa.
Afriforum lawyer, Willie Spies said the seizures will cover their legal costs. He added that the case will allow farmers who lost their land during President Robert Mugabe's forced land reclamation program to hold the government accountable. Mugabe says the land seizures were necessary to correct colonial land imbalances. 90 percent of the land in Zimbabwe is now in the hands of black farmers, but who lack proper commercial farming skills and are without adequate inputs.
The 2.5-million-rand (338,000 US dollars) house in a Cape Town was attached by the sheriff's office which would allow the farmers to auction it off.
"We believe some way of punishing the Zimbabwe government is necessary. Unfortunately, our government do not follow that route at this stage. Our government's opinion is actually the opposite but thanks to legal procedure and thanks to the fact that the tribunal of the Southern Africa Development Community already ruled against Zimbabwe it is now possible to execute the judgements of the tribunal against the country and to create some kind of relief or some kind of redress for the people very dearly by the Zimbabwean policies," said Spies.
The seizure of the house stems from a November 2008 verdict by the tribunal of the regional Southern African Development Community (SADC), which found that Zimbabwe had wrongly taken land from nearly 80 farmers, saying they had been targeted because of their race.
Zimbabwe has rejected the verdict, but a South African court last month ruled that the verdict should be applied locally.
Three other properties in Cape Town have been identified for possible seizure, Spies said.
The Kenilworth home was not protected by diplomatic immunity because the property was being rented out, making it a commercial property, Spies said.
Mugabe launched the land reforms a decade ago, aiming to correct a colonial legacy that left whites owning most of the best farmland.
- Copyright Holder: FILE REUTERS (CAN SELL)
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