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Tuesday 20th March 2018

South Africa Orders Release of Air Tanzania Jet


7Dnews London

Wed, 04 Sep 2019 23:53 GMT

An Air Tanzania jet is set to be released following a South African court order after it had been impounded over a farmer's $33-million compensation claim, AFP reported on Wednesday, September 4th.

Last August, the Air Tanzania aircraft landed on a flight from the Tanzanian economic capital Dar-es Salaam, after which it was seized at Johannesburg's International Airport.

The seizure is related to a case dating back to the 1980s stemming from a farmer who for years has sought his claims of compensation for the Tanzanian government's nationalisation of his private farm.

According to Tanzanian Foreign Minister Palamagamba Kabudi at a press conference, the judgement that led to the seizure was cancelled after the court heard the Tanzanians' argument.

The aircraft is believed to have landed Wednesday evening, September 4th, at Dar-es Salaam airport, where several ministers were waiting, according to images broadcast on local television.

The Deputy Foreign Minister Damas Ndumbaro in Tanzania prided his country's victory by criticising the South African judiciary system, referring to it as incompetent. Nonetheless, Lawyer Roger Wakefield, representing the farmer, said the initial seizure followed an order granted by the High Court in Johannesburg.

In the 1980s, Tanzania's government nationalised a massive, privately-owned bean and seed farm, seizing equipment, 250 cars and 12 small planes.

However, the Namibian-born Tanzanian farm owner, whom the lawyer refused to name, was awarded $33 million (almost 30 million euros) in compensation in the 1990s, but the government only paid $20 million.

In the events following the court dispute, the farmer has been living in another East African country, after he was declared a prohibited immigrant in Tanzania on what his lawyer called "baseless grounds".