A residential property in Cape Town owned by the Zimbabwean government was auctioned for R3.76 million on Monday in a symbolic victory against the land grab policies of President Robert Mugabe lawyers said.
In 2008, a tribunal set up by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) bloc ruled Zimbabwe had wrongly taken land from a group of white farmers. Harare rejected the ruling but a South African court ordered it could be applied in the country and the property could be sold.
“It is a significant symbolic victory to any person that has lost everything to see that at least in neighbouring countries justice does prevail,” said Willie Spies, a lawyer acting on behalf of the white Zimbabwean farmers.
Spies also said the auction meant future losses proven in other international tribunals could be enforced in South Africa.
The money raised from the auction will be used to pay legal costs as well other creditors, he said.
At the height of the land grabs, led by veterans of the 1970s liberation war and encouraged by the state, Mugabe said it was immoral for white farmers to occupy 70% of the best farmland while majority blacks were crowded on to barren plots.
Around two dozen people attended the auction, conducted in the road outside the property, which comes with a swimming pool and electric fence round its perimeter, after access to the house was denied by its Zimbabwean tenant.
“We have nothing to say to journalists,” a Zimbabwean official at the house who declined to give his name said.
Government officials in Harare declined to comment.