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South Africa | Zimbabwe
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Evicted Zim farmers in another ‘victory’

afrol News, 26 February - South Africa has been put on yet another test that could see power relations in the regional bloc, the Southern African Development Community (SADC), fused once more.

This follows the recent verdict by the SADC tribunal against the seizure of farm lands in Zimbabwe.

The High Court in Pretoria has also ordered that the tribunal’s ruling should be registered, recognised and enforceable by the South African government.

A group of South African farmers, who were evicted from their land in Zimbabwe had challenged the non-compliance by the Zimbabwean government to the SADC Tribunal’s ruling.

High Court Judge, Justice Garth Rabie ruled in favour of farmers, whose argument has been that the seizure of their land without compensation was a human rights abuse.

The legal representatives of the farmers, AfriForum, have welcomed the South African High Court ruling saying it was a coup for the farmers, further adding that Zimbabwe must now be pushed to honour the tribunal’s verdicts made in 2008 and 2009 respectively.

The latest of the tribunal rulings in 2009 had also declared that should Zimbabwe not honour its obligations, South Africa, as a SADC member, could attach Zimbabwe's assets as compensation and to protect its citizens.

The Zimbabwean government has always shunned the Tribunal’s rulings and at one point the Justice Minister on the side of President Mugabe, dismissed the verdict as a bluff.

With more 200 South African farmers having been affected by the forced evictions on Zimbabwean farms, the latest human rights puzzling question has also been whether the cash-strapped Zimbabwe would be able to cough out some of the compensation demands, while the country is still struggling to meet its basic local needs.

Zimbabwe was forced into a hyperinflation due to continued political crisis coupled up with dysfunctional administration systems. The formation of a unity government in February last year brought some hope of a positive recovery at all the spheres of the economy, human rights and the political field.

But, to date, the rumbling goes on, uncertainties continue and the western purse-holders are still reluctant to fund the country directly.

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