Zimbabwe's White Farmers Plan to Seize Government Property

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White Zimbabwean
farmers whose land was grabbed by Robert Mugabe plan to turn the
tables by seizing Zimbabwean-owned property in South Africa.

Lawyers for
dispossessed farmers believe that on Monday they will be able to
start using the law to seize houses in Cape Town which are owned
by the Zimbabwean government. Their action, which follows a landmark
legal ruling, promises to humiliate Mr Mugabe and embarrass South
Africa’s president Jacob Zuma, who was on a state visit to Britain
last week.

The battle
for justice fought by one of the white farmers, Mike Campbell, aged
77, was featured in the documentary film Mugabe
and the White African
. It was shown in British cinemas this
year to great acclaim.

The film tells
how he fought stubbornly to bring a legal case in 2008 against Mr
Mugabe’s government at the Southern African Development Community
tribunal, based in the Namibian capital Windhoek.

Mr Campbell
won a victory when the court ruled that Mr Mugabe’s farm takeovers
were racist in nature and therefore illegal.

At the North
Gauteng High Court in the South African capital Pretoria last month,
the farmers successfully applied for the Namibian judgement to be
enforced in South Africa.

Lawyers acting
for the Mr Campbell and a group of other farmers believe after that
ruling they can seize Zimbabwean government-owned property, to recover
legal costs from the South African case.

Mr Campbell,
who was severely beaten by land invaders in 2008, was too frail
to comment yesterday. But his son-in-law Ben Freeth, 41, said: "This
is not about revenge. This is about the long arm of the law.

"We hope
to expand our actions further and investigate whether we can, in
time, sue individuals who were responsible for what has been going
on."

Late last year
Mr Freeth watched helplessly as thugs burned down his farmhouse
in Zimbabwe.

Their representatives
have identified at least 11 properties which are owned by the government
of Zimbabwe, including houses in Cape Town worth hundreds of thousands
of pounds. Unlike properties in Pretoria which are connected to
the embassy, the Cape Town properties are thought not to be protected
by diplomatic immunity.

The lawyers
say it will be a groundbreaking development, as they are not aware
of any precedent for government-owned properties being seized in
pursuit of a civil judgement.

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the rest of the article

March
9, 2010

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