By Shout-Africa News – The civil rights initiative AfriForum today demanded in a lawyer’s letter sent to the Department of Trade and Industry, that the South African Government should intervene urgently to protect the lives and property of South African citizens in Zimbabwe. This follows after South Africans farming in Zimbabwe, are once again being subjected to a renewed and intensified onslaught, starting this past weekend. AfriForum is also currently obtaining legal advice regarding possible action against the Government, if such protection were not to materialise.
The demand is based, amongst other reasons, on the settlement reached between AfriForum and the South African Government on the BIPPA trade and investment agreement, formalised as a court order by the North Gauteng High Court in November 2009, in which the South African Government undertakes to maintain the rights and legal remedies of victims of Zimbabwe’s illegal land expropriation programme. In terms of the Minister’s affidavits for the court case, as well as the ensuing court order, South African citizens have a right to protection as described by this investment agreement.
According to Kallie Kriel, CEO of AfriForum, the lawyer’s letter has been sent to the government, because the state has not taken any steps to assist citizens, even after it had come to light that South Africans are now subject to a renewed onslaught.
In another joint separate statement, the Commercial Farmers’ Union siad it is ‘gravely concerned with the recent continued harassment of productive farmers and the failure of Zimbabwe Republic Police to render appropriate assistance in spite of High Court Orders for farmers to remain in occupation’
“These events have been driven by statements allegedly emanating from a prominent politician who has instructed beneficiaries and officials to disregard Court Orders. Beneficiaries have been allowed to take the law into their own hands to evict farmers without due process. Both farmers and the office of the CFU have received no support from the relevant police stations in affected areas. This constitutes a blatant break down of law and order and the enforcement of High Court Orders and BIPPA agreements.”
“We are concerned that at a time that Zimbabwe wishes to re-engage with the international community and encourage investment, that these breaches of the rule of law will drive Zimbabwe into further isolation. This will further erode both local and foreign investor confidence and jeopardize economic recovery.”