ZIMBABWE FARM DISPUTES- Lobby Group To Take Another Step Against SA Government

Shout-Africa News – The lobby group AfriForum will meet with a senior legal team this week to decide on legal steps against the South African government in response to the latter’s neglect to protect the lives and property of South Africans in Zimbabwe. On 9 June 2010, AfriForum served a lawyer’s letter to the Department of Trade and Industry to demand that the South African government should intervene urgently to protect citizens in Zimbabwe.

There was no response to AfriForum’s letter to the Department was given time to midnight, 15 June 2010.

This step followed after several South Africans farming in Zimbabwe had become subject to renewed, exacerbated onslaughts of land grabbers. In terms of the settlement reached between AfriForum and the South African government re the BIPPA Trade Agreement, formalised as a court order by the Gauteng North High Court in Pretoria in November 2009, the South African government undertook to maintain the rights and remedies of victims of Zimbabwe’s illegal land expropriation programme. In terms of the Minister’s affidavits for the case, as well as the subsequent court order, South Africans have a right to protection as defined by this agreement.

According to Alana Bailey, deputy CEO of AfriForum, it is outrageous that the government does not take steps to comply with its undertaking to its citizens. “It is even more shocking to see that the government invites Robert Mugabe as guest to the World Cup Soccer Tournament, thereby indulging the man responsible for these, as well as numerous other human rights violations, instead of taking action against him. This sends a perturbing message regarding the South African government’s commitment to the protection of human rights and shows a total lack of respect for not only South Africans in Zimbabwe, but for all victims of the Mugabe-regime.”

AfriForum says it will decide on a course of action in accordance with its legal team’s advice. Meanwhile AfriForum has welcomed the announcement that the Queen of England has awarded a MBE to Ben Freeth – the activist for Zimbabwean farmers who had lost their land, whose struggle is covered so poignantly by the documentary Mugabe and the White African. AfriForum congratulates Freeth with this well-deserved honour. According to the Queen’s birthday list of 2010, this award is made based on “services to the farming community in Zimbabwe”.

The lobby group says it has ‘the greatest respect for Freeth and his fellow  farmers’ who refuse to yield in the face of the injustices of the Mugabe-regime.

“The only way in which tyrants like Mugabe can be stopped, is when people refuse to accept their injustices or to be silenced by them,” Bailey added.