Zimbabwean commercial farmers lodge an R1.9 billion compensation claim against the South African presidency and government.
The 25 commercial farmers and farming businesses suffered damages as a result of the dissolution of the Southern African Development Community’s regional human rights court, the Windhoek-based SADC Tribunal, by the SADC Heads of State, including former president Jacob Zuma.
The struggle for justice in the agricultural sector of Zimbabwe began in the year 2000 when the violent land invasions were initiated, resulting in the mass-scale destruction of property, crops and livestock, as well as brutal attacks on farmers and farm workers countrywide.
Initially, the Zimbabwean courts upheld the rule of law but after they themselves were invaded, judges who had stood up to the Mugabe government were forced out of office and many of those who remained became compromised.
In 2005, my father-in-law, Mike Campbell, a commercial farmer and large-scale mango exporter from the Chegutu district in central Zimbabwe, lodged a court case in the local courts that protested the lawless and racial nature of the farm invasions.
Shortly after the case was heard in 2007 in the Supreme Court of Zimbabwe, Mike was arrested for being in his home on the farm and farming ‘illegally’, despite the fact that the Supreme Court had not ruled on the case.
In October 2007, after Mike had exhausted all access to legal recourse in Zimbabwe, his case was lodged in the SADC Tribunal, the Southern African Development Community’s regional human rights court, located in Windhoek, Namibia.
Shortly before the main court hearing, Mike was abducted by President Mugabe’s militia and severely tortured, along with his wife, Angela, and me, in a bid to force us to withdraw our case from the SADC Tribunal.E
For further information:
The spokesman for SADC Tribunal Rights Watch
Cell: +263 773 929 138