Gauntlett barred from Zim court
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.