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Judgement will be handed down on Thursday, 1 March 2018 at 10:00 in the application by various Zimbabwean commercial farmers to have the South African Government’s involvement in abolishing the Southern African Development Community’s (SADC’s) tribunal declared unlawful.

The SADC’s tribunal had established itself soon after its establishment as a respected human rights court for the whole Southern African region. In November 2008 the tribunal ruled in favour of the late Mike Campbell and 77 other commercial farmers that Zimbabwe’s land reform process had been unlawful and racist. However, in 2011 the SADC’s summit of heads of state decided at the insistence of Robert Mugabe, then Zimbabwe’s leader, to suspend the tribunal’s operations after it had found the Zimbabwean Government to be in of contempt of court. Mugabe was supported by former President Jacob Zuma and all other SADC leaders.

The court application against the South African Government’s complicity in the abolishment of a human rights court was initially brought by the Law Society of South Africa late in 2015. However, with the support of AfriForum, Ben Freeth, son-in-law of the late Mike Campbell, as well as Luke Tembani, a black commercial farmer, and three other farmers successfully applied to be added to the case. Arguments in the case were heard on 5 February this year before a full bench of judges, including Gauteng Judge-President, Dunstan Mlambo, assisted by Judges Mngqibisa-Thusi and Hans Fabricius.

Tomorrow’s ruling will be delivered in the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria corner of Madiba and Paul Kruger Streets.

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