SADC tri­bunal clo­sure stains Zuma sta­tus be­yond borders

African Times - - News - SAVIOUS KWINIKA

THE rul­ing by the Pre­to­ria High Court that thenSouth African Pres­i­dent, Jacob Zuma, erred in the clo­sure of the South­ern Devel­op­ment African Com­mu­nity (SADC) Tri­bunal in 2012 is a fur­ther blow to the be­lea­guered politi­cian.

On Thurs­day, the court handed down judg­ment in the pro­longed the court ap­pli­ca­tion against Zuma, days after he was pres­sured to re­sign by his own African Na­tional Congress (ANC) party fol­low­ing a string of con­tro­ver­sies.

The high court ruled Zuma had acted “un­law­fully, ir­ra­tionally and un­con­sti­tu­tion­ally.”

“South Africa re­mains bound by the [SADC] Treaty and the First Pro­to­col,” the bench, led by Judge Pres­i­dent Dun­stan Mlambo, con­cluded on Thurs­day.

“Amend­ing the Treaty and with­out ter­mi­nat­ing the First Pro­to­col, the Ex­ec­u­tive has no author­ity to par­tic­i­pate in a de­ci­sion in con­flict with South Africa’s bind­ing obli­ga­tions.”

The Law So­ci­ety of South Africa launched the ap­pli­ca­tion in 2015 to de­clare the ac­tions of Zuma, as well as the Min­is­ter of Jus­tice, Michael Ma­sutha, and the then Min­is­ter of In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions and Co-op­er­a­tion, Maite Nkoana-Masha­bane, un­con­sti­tu­tional in re­la­tion to SADC’s 2014 Pro­to­col.

Some farm­ers dis­posed of land they laid claim to in Zim­babwe joined the ap­pli­ca­tion after the vi­o­lent seizures by the ad­min­is­tra­tion of now-de­posed pres­i­dent, Robert Mu­gabe.

South African civil rights group AfriFo­rum suc­cess­fully as­sisted four Zim­bab­wean farm­ers and two agri­cul­tural com­pa­nies to in­ter­vene in the case.Wil­lie Spies, the le­gal rep­re­sen­ta­tive of AfriFo­rum, ex­pressed sat­is­fac­tion with the out­come of the court pro­ceed­ings.

He said it was im­por­tant that the 277 mil­lion cit­i­zens of the SADC re­gion un­der­stood the role of re­gional tri­bunals and their crit­i­cal im­por­tance in pro­tect­ing the rights of all cit­i­zens.

“When in­di­vid­ual cit­i­zens, civil so­ci­ety groups and ac­tivists are de­nied ac­cess to jus­tice in their own coun­tries, they must be able to chal­lenge de­ci­sions that may have an im­pact on democ­racy and their hu­man rights through a higher court of ar­bi­tra­tion,”he ex­plained.

He pointed out re­gional courts ex­ist through­out the world to pro­tect hu­man rights and rule of law. The court’s rul­ing is fur­ther dent to Zuma’s rep­u­ta­tion.

His res­ig­na­tion last month brought to an end a reign that was pre­ceded by ac­cu­sa­tions of rape (he was ac­quit­ted) and cor­rup­tion.

In the lat­ter years of his reign, he was un­der fire for his ties with the con­tro­ver­sial Gupta fam­ily and flout­ing the con­sti­tu­tion on mat­ters re­lated to the fla­grant use of tax­pay­ers’ money to up­grade his lav­ish pri­vate home. – CAJ News

Pic­ture: Vis­ual Buzz SA

For­mer South African Pres­i­dent Jacob Zuma.

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