SA to challenge Zim land ruling
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Cape Town - South Africa's government on Friday said it will fight a court ruling that allowed white farmers who lost land under President Robert Mugabe's reforms to claim a Zimbabwean state-owned house.
The R2.5m house in Cape Town was legally seized on Tuesday, after a court said a regional ruling that Zimbabwe's government must compensate the farmers was enforceable in SA.
"We are appealing the judgement," said South Africa's foreign affairs head of diplomacy Kgomotso Molobi.
The regional Southern African Development Community (SADC) tribunal found in 2008 that Zimbabwe had wrongly taken land from nearly 80 farmers, saying they had been targeted due to their race.
Zimbabwe has rejected the verdict, but a South African court in February ruled that it could be applied locally.
The house in the Cape Town suburb of Kenilworth was not protected by diplomatic immunity and was legally attached or seized by the sheriff's office on Tuesday.
An appeal against the court ruling by the South African government will be opposed, the farmers' lawyer Willie Spies said on Friday.
"If they challenge this, then obviously we will oppose the challenge," he said.
Mugabe launched the land reforms a decade ago, aiming to correct a colonial legacy that left whites owning most of the best farmland.
But the chaotic campaign was marred by deadly political violence and wrecked the farm-based economy, leaving the country dependent on international food aid.
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