Commercial Farmers Union of Zimbabwe

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AgriForum embarks on a civil sanction campaign

AfriForum embarks upon a civil sanction campaign

Media Briefing
AfriForum – Pretoria, South Africa
26 March 2010

The Government of the Republic of Zimbabwe has been at war with its own people for longer than 10 years.

During this war against its people, white farmers have been targeted and deprived of not only their property but also their dignity, while hundreds of thousands of farm workers have been left to the mercy of ZANU-PF militia
and warlords.

The Zimbabwean economy has disintegrated. The poor are becoming poorer while the wealthy government officials and beneficiaries of the land redistribution program get richer.

In these desperate circumstances, AfriForum was approached last year by Messrs Deon Theron and Louis Fick of the Commercial Farmers’ Union for assistance.

“Bloodmilk”-campaign

AfriForum’s campaign started when it became known that an international dairy company purchased milk from a farm that was confiscated by the Mugabe regime and transferred to Mr Mugabe’s wife, Ms Grace Mugabe. AfriForum undertook an extremely successful international media and internet campaign and international pressure lead to a decision by the dairy company not to purchase milk from the said farm.

The fate of South African farmers

Mr Louis Fick is a South African citizen, farming on Friedawil in the Chinhoyi district. His farm was earmarked for land redistribution and he was effectively chased off his farm last year. At the moment, Mr Fick stands trial on criminal charges that he “failed to co-operate with the Zimbabwean land reform program”. If found guilty, he can be sentenced to two years in a Zimbabwean jail. Mr Fick could not join us today as he is on Friedawil this
week to try and recover his remaining personal movable assets from the homestead, after the home was broken into and apparently looted.

Last year when it became known that the South African Government was on the verge of entering a bilateral investment agreement that would exclude South African farmers from protection, AfriForum assisted Louis Fick in an attempt to obtaining an interdict against the signing of such a discriminating treaty.

The matter was settled, and the South African Government recommitted itself to the protection of South African farmers as well as to the upholding of the ruling of the SADC tribunal of November 2008 where the land reform policies of Zimbabwe were found to be racist and unlawful.

AfriForum regards it as our duty to hold the South African government to these commitments. More particulars of future legal and civil action will be announced in due course.

The SADC Tribunal rulings

In November 2008 the tribunal ruled in favour of Mr Michael Campbell and 78 Zimbabwean farmers that the land reform program was racist and unlawful. In his reaction to this, President Robert Mugabe described the ruling as “nonsense and of no consequence” to Zimbabwe. The tribunal followed up its
ruling with a contempt ruling and costs order in June 2009.

On 26 February, the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria registered these rulings. They are now rulings of a South African court and as such the cost order is an executable judgement.

Four Cape Town properties in Zonnebloem, Kenilworth and Wynberg were identified. The Sheriff of Cape Town visited these properties on 11th March 2010 to attach movables. We have received his confirmation about the current state of the properties: Three of the properties are vacant and one is being leased to third party tenants. Since the properties are therefore of a non-diplomatic nature, they can be attached.

A writ of execution of immovable property will therefore be issued in the North Gauteng High Court, today and served early next week. The attachment of immovable properties in Cape Town will be the first step in what AfriForum describes as its “Civil Sanction Campaign”. This campaign is our gesture of hope and support for the millions of Zimbabweans waiting in despair for a better life.

ENDS
For further information:

Willie Spies (Legal Representative:  AfriForum
Cell:  +27 83 676 0639 (South Africa)
E-mail:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Ben Freeth (SADC Tribunal Watch)
Cell:  +263 913 929 138 (Zimbabwe)
E-mail:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Brief information on AfriForum

AfriForum is an independent initiative of the South African trade union Solidarity. It is a non-profit institution which endeavours to eradicate the cycle of withdrawal. The process motivates minorities to participate
constructively in public life and debate by means of:
• Campaigns for the protection and consolidation of civil rights
• Establishing functional forums in various spheres of life
• Creating a future vision for minority communities
• Promoting co-operation between civil institutions.
• Liaising with the rest of the world
• Liaising with the authorities.
AfriForum offers a forum for the constructive activation of minorities to participate in public debate and action, in order to ensure a future for all in Africa.  www.afriforum.co.za

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