via Charamba rages as govt loses R840,000 – NewZimbabwe 03/10/2015
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe’s regime lost a whopping R840,000 in a bungled rush to save a Zimbabwean property which was auctioned in South Africa, it has emerged.
Controversial state media columnist, Nathaniel Manheru, widely believed to be Presidential spokesperson George Charamba, revealed Saturday government still lost the asset to a different set of litigants, despite the payment.
The R3,7 million (US$280,000) property in the port city of Cape Town was due to go under the hammer in South Africa in a space of 48 hours to offset legal costs incurred by 78 white former farmers in Zimbabwe.
But a panicky government was forced to scrounge for the amount required to salvage the property only to be ambushed with yet another claim by some Germans.
The property, Charamba further reveals, was isolated from the rest as it was being leased out to raise capital for the upkeep of other Zimbabwean properties in South Africa.
“… Until that blue Monday was clearly on the horizon,” Charamba says.
He adds: “With our Mission in South Africa crying wolf, wolf, crying itself hoarse all the time.
“Only on a Saturday, two days before the auction – all of the non-working days – were the gods finally moved. Payment was done that very same Saturday, payment over a claim of legal fees which
had accumulated to R840 000.”
The Information Ministry Permanent Secretary says the Attorney General was “dealing” with the R840,000 payment which had already been made by the Zimbabwean authorities.
The commercial farmers had successfully challenged the seizure of their land in Zimbabwe in the Namibian based SADC Tribunal.
The Zimbabwean government blocked the operation of the Tribunal ruling and went on to sponsor the court’s disbandment by signatory countries in the region for operating outsight certain international treaties.
This paved way for the farmers to approach South African courts.
Quizzed by legislators last week on why the property was excluded from those covered by the Vienna Convention, Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa seemed angered by the question.
“Madam Speaker, thank you but I would like to know why the property should have been protected by the convention,” he retorted.
But Charamba gave a blow-by-blow account of what transpired, further revealing boiling anger in government corridors over the blunder.
“One cannot but read another culpable oversight on the part of the authorities,” he said.
“Surely against a clear show of such hostility, the lease could have been terminated at whatever cost, to whatever anger by the sitting tenant, to ensure the property was not exposed.
“Significantly, another creditor, KFW of Germany, had attempted to raise a caveat over the same property, suggesting there was ample warning to the authorities.
“And when the farmers targeted the property, the Zimbabwe Government had nether a legal nor diplomatic leg to stand on. Not even the South African government could come to its rescue.”
He continued: “Much worse, if the bungling of the Zimbabwean Government over this one matter points and measures the capacity of nationalists in defending property gains in post-independence, then we have a lot of capacity building to do before we can take the battle to the white colonial landed gentry.
“By hindsight, it is not very difficult to see why matters were bungled by Government. Three offices were involved: Foreign Affairs, the Attorney general and Finance. Coordination lapsed disastrously.
“A sense of both importance and urgency lacked, again disastrously. Much worse, little officers, using very parochial, departmental lenses, were left to handle and decide a matter of such importance. That was fatal.
“We have to learn to cost matters, learn to read their full implications, to give them full status and regard. We did not do so in this case.
“Our truncated institutions are still to wake up to the fact that Zimbabwe is under an international trial and, what is more, that he carries the precedent and hope for post-independence
transformation, the hope of challenging colonially-derived white rights.”