via VP evasive on Zim house seized in SA – New Zimbabwe 30/09/2015
VICE President Emmerson Mnangagwa, on Wednesday, refused to disclose the status of government’s property that went under the hammer in neighbouring South Africa two weeks ago.
Asked by legislators what government was doing to prevent the country’s properties in other countries being attached, acting president Mnangagwa seemed evasive.
“The issue of our properties in different countries is not bilateral but an international issue covered by the Vienna Convention.
“However the Cape Town property was not covered by the rules of the Vienna Convention,” Mnangagwa told the National Assembly during a question without notice session.
Pressed to reveal why the property was different from government’s other properties “protected by the international convention” 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 to muted groans from opposition legislators and interjections of “was it not a government property, what was the difference”.
A Zimbabwe government property in Cape Town was last week auctioned for R3,7 million (approximately US$280,000) despite claims by authorities that R800,000 had been paid to settle the punitive costs required to block the sale of the house at number 28 Salisbury Road, Kenilworth, Cape Town.
The property was sold to compensate white farmers evicted from their land. The auction followed a five-year battle to force the Zimbabwe government to pay legal costs, after it lost a court challenge against its controversial land reforms.
Zimbabwe’s ambassador to South Africa, Isaac Moyo said the move by human rights group AfriForum to go ahead with the auction under the pretext of human rights violations in following the 2000 fast track land reform program was a cheap political gimmick.
“We are very disappointed by this move to sell our property under the pretence of human rights violations.
“These are just cheap political arguments despite us having paid some money to stop the sale,” Moyo was quoted as having said adding lobby group Afriforum had proof of payment.
AfriForum represents a group of former white commercial farmers who have been pushing for the Zimbabwean government to compensate them for the loss of their land.
The Sadc tribunal found in November 2008 that President Robert Mugabe’s chaotic “land reform programme” was unlawful.
After the Zimbabwean government unsuccessful tried to reverse the registration of the judgement in South Africa, the Sheriff of Cape Town proceeded with the auction.
AfriForum’s legal representative Willie Spies was quoted in South African media as saying the auction was used to compel the Zimbabwean government to pay the outstanding debt running into millions of US dollars.