President Cyril Ramaphosa has officially withdrawn South Africa’s signature from a protocol that prevents citizens from holding countries accountable at the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Tribunal.

The move was made official at the 39th SADC Summit taking place in Tanzania this weekend.

Last year, the Constitutional Court ruled that former President Jacob Zuma’s signing of the protocol in 2014 was unconstitutional, unlawful, and irrational.

South Africa was hauled before the court by Zimbabwean farmers who were prevented from getting relief from the tribunal after their farms were seized.

The SADC tribunal was supposed to be a body that states and citizens could approach if internal remedies failed them, but in 2014 when former Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe didn’t want farmers who lost their farms to seek relief there he convinced other states to sign a protocol that would prevent individuals from going to the tribunal.

South Africa also signed that protocol. But after the ConCourt ruled that signing that protocol was irrational, Ramaphosa officially withdrew the signature.

The SADC summit in Tanzania noted the withdrawal in compliance with the ConCourt ruling.

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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