3 arrested for protesting outside SA embassy for release of Air Tanzania plane


3 arrested for protesting outside SA embassy for release of Air Tanzania plane
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Three people were arrested on Wednesday after protests outside the South African Embassy in Dar es Salaam over the seizure of an Air Tanzania plane in Johannesburg.

According to Azam Media, the three are accused of leading the demonstrations which is against the country’s laws.

“Sisi jeshi la polisi kama ilivyo ada haturuhusu maandamano…chochote ambacho wanataka kupeleka kwa uma wanaweza wakaandika, wanaweza wakawatuma wakilishi,” Lazaro Mambosasa, Dar es Salaam Special Zone Police Commander, told reporters.

The seizure has been linked to compensation claims pitting Tanzania and Mr. Hermanus Steyn, a retired farmer who owned planes and cars that were nationalised in the 1980s.

According to AFP, the South African Government impounded the plane over a $33-million (Kshs. 3.4billon) compensation claim.

Reports indicate that land belonging to Mr. Steyn in Tanzania was nationalised decades ago but he was not fully compensated.

In seizing the plane, the South African Government was following an order from the High Court issued in Johannesburg earlier in the week.

According to lawyer Roger Wakefield, the Tanzanian government nationalised a massive, privately-owned bean and seed farm in the 1980s.

They seized everything including equipment, 250 cars and 12 small planes.

Mr Steyn was awarded $33million in the 1990s but according to his lawyer, the government only paid $20million (Ksh. 2billion).

“The outstanding balance of $16million has accrued interest over the decades and now stands at $33million,” the lawyer who specialises in cross-border disputes said.

The farmer has been fighting for years to get the outstanding amount and was in the process declared a prohibited immigrant in Tanzania on what his lawyer called ‘baseless grounds’.

He now lives in another East African country.

It is after this proceedings that the the farmer approached lawyers in South Africa, which is party to an international convention on the recognition and enforcement of foreign arbitration awards, in a bid to secure the remaining money.

The seized Airbus jet is reportedly valued at around $90 million (Ksh. 9.3 billion).

“The only way that the aircraft can now be released is if the Tanzanian Government pays the debt or if they put up security for the claim,” said Wakefield.

 

 

 

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