The Southern African Development Community (SADC) region has recommended that the SADC Tribunal should be reviewed every six months.
The two-day SADC 30th Jubilee Summit that ended here on Tuesday issued a communiqué, which addressed the issue of the Zimbabwean government’s insistence on not honouring court rulings of the SADC Tribunal.
The Summit was expected to discuss this matter extensively this week, after the SADC Tribunal ruled last month that Zimbabwe’s failure to register a previous ruling at its High Court should be referred to the SADC Summit.
The Government of Zimbabwe had refused to accept the ruling of the SADC Tribunal in favour of two white farmers, Louis Fick and Michael Campbell, who were dispossessed of their land in a case that has been in court since 2008.
In July this year, Judge Jamu Mutambo of the SADC Tribunal granted the relief sought by Fick and Campbell to have the matter referred to the just-ended SADC Summit after the Zimbabwean government failed to comply with a previous order of the Tribunal.
The Zimbabwean government, through its Justice and Legal Affairs’ Minister Patrick Chinamasa, rejected the ruling in favour of the farmers on the basis that the country’s land reform programme is irreversible.
Zimbabwe also refused to recognise the judgments of the Tribunal, arguing that the protocol that created the SADC body has not yet been ratified by a two-thirds majority of SADC member States for it to have legal effect.
Only five out of the current 14 member states have actually ratified the protocol thus far, and Zimbabwe is not among those five.
The High Court in Zimbabwe also passed a decision in January this year not to register the SADC Tribunal judgment in that country. The SADC Tribunal is based in Namibia.