Von Abo v Government of the Republic of South Africa and Others (3106/07) [2010] ZAGPPHC 4

5th February 2010

Judge WRC Prinsloo:

...The internationally recognised forms of diplomatic intervention, supra, have been designed to force offending states to tow the line. There is no room for an argument that diplomatic intervention becomes toothless, simply because the offending state exhibits no intention ever to co-operate. It is precisely under those circumstances when the recognised interventions, supra, come into play: the strength of the intervention, as illustrated, depends on the level of resistance.
South Africa is the power house of the region. It is common knowledge that Zimbabwe is dependent on South Africa for almost every conceivable form of aid
and assistance. I see no reason why the respondents cannot apply the necessary pressure, under these circumstances, to assist their valuable and long suffering citizens, such as the applicant. In breach of their constitutional duties, the respondents have refrained from affording such assistance for almost a decade.
To date, they have brought about no meaningful assistance for the applicant whatsoever. This state of affairs may well continue into the future. The time has arrived for this court to afford the applicant appropriate and effective relief as illustrated in Fose, Kale and other judgments.

1. It is declared that the first and third respondents, jointly and severally, the one paying the other to be absolved, are liable to pay to the applicant such
damages as he may prove that he has suffered as a result of the violation of his rights by the Government of Zimbabwe.
2. The question of the quantum of the damages is referred to oral evidence.
3. The usual rules will apply with regard to discovery, expert evidence and the holding of a pre-trial conference.
4. The respondents, jointly and severally, are ordered to pay the applicant's costs arising from this follow-up hearing, including the costs of two counsel.