Gauntlett barred from Zim court

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - PETA THORNY­CROFT

JEREMY Gauntlett, a mem­ber of the Cape Bar, has been barred from ap­pear­ing in the Harare High Court on Tues­day.

He was due to ap­pear in an ap­pli­ca­tion to seek en­force­ment in Zim­babwe of the South­ern African De­vel­op­ment Com­mu­nity tri­bunal’s rul­ing last year in favour of farm­ers af­fected by Pres­i­dent Robert Mu­gabe’s land grab.

The tri­bunal ruled that more than 70 white farm­ers who had sur­vived the nine-year cam­paign should be left in peace on what re­mains of their orig­i­nal land hold­ings.

The tri­bunal also found the farm­ers had been vic­tims of racial dis­crim­i­na­tion and said those evicted from their far ms since 2000 should be com­pen­sated.

Gauntlett and his ju­nior coun­sel, Frank Pelser, who rep­re­sented the farm­ers at the tri­bunal, re­ceived a fax from Zanu-PF jus­tice min­is­ter Pa­trick Chi­na­masa on Thurs­day say­ing they could not ap­pear in the high court.

South African lawyers have been rep­re­sent­ing Zim­bab­weans in court for decades and Gauntlett has ap­peared in var­i­ous Zim­babwe courts about a dozen times.

He and Pelser have lodged an ur­gent ap­pli­ca­tion to the Harare High Court on Mon­day to al­low them to rep­re­sent farm­ers the fol­low­ing day.

A se­nior lawyer in Harare said one rea­son for the bar on Gauntlett seemed to be that Chi­na­masa’s depart­ment hardly func­tions and its prose­cu­tion skills are at an all-time low.

“They sim­ply can’t stand up to lawyers of abil­ity like Gauntlett. There is no one of any merit left to go to court to do a de­cent job,” he said.

Chi­na­masa, a ben­e­fi­ciary of white­owned land, like most higher court judges, did not an­swer his phone yes­ter­day. There was no re­ply from the at­tor­ney-gen­eral’s of­fice.

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