Zuma could face billion-rand lawsuit from Zimbabwe’s white farmers

Jacob Zuma

Well, this is a bit of a turn up for the books. It has been revealed by lawyer Willie Spies that former President Jacob Zuma could soon face a legal battle bigger than all those that have gone before him, claiming that Msholozi has played in a role in oppressing white farmers in Zimbabwe.

The allegation may seem extraordinary, but Spies – a representative of AfriForum – has come equipped with the receipts. Back in 2014, a group of landowners who were dispossessed by Robert Mugabe’s disastrous land reform plans launched a tribunal to reclaim their land. However, as Bloomberg report, political interference scuppered their bid for justice.

What has Jacob Zuma done to Zimbabwe’s white farmers?

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) moved to halt the challenge of white-owned farm seizures and did what they could to have the tribunal invalidated. Some key heads of state signed off of the deal, and Zuma is believed to be one of those who put pen to paper.

The Constitutional Court ruled last week that JZ had no right to sign off on that document, and claimed it was an affront to our bill of rights. They slammed the 76-year-old, and called his decision “unconstitutional, unlawful and irrational”. So much for that “defender of the constitution” line he’s been putting out there, then.

Spies believes that the total cost of the lawsuit could come to $133 million, or around R2 billion dollars. However, these eye-watering sums of money could get even worse in the years to come, according to the advocate:

“This is just the tip of the iceberg, there are 3000 and 4000 of them whereas here, we have just 10 of them. It shows the tremendous damage done to the Zimbabwean economy, its no wonder it collapsed.”

Willie Spies

What will happen next

The 2014 protocol sought to take away the power of the tribunal by stripping it of the right to adjudicate individual disputes against a state party. By putting his name to the document, Zuma was effectively endorsing the chaotic collapse of Zimbabwe at the hands of a tyrant.

It’s unclear how much Jacob Zuma could be held personally liable for, but Spies has confirmed he and his team will deliver legal summons before the end of January 2019. It looks as if uBaba’s desire to get involved with international issues – much like the Thales case – could end up costing him dearly.