ANC plans to partner with Zim to challenge US sanctions

The Zimbabwe Anti-Sanctions Movement (ZASM), which last month sued the US government in the Gauteng High Court in an attempt to have sanctions declared in South Africa illegal, appears to have found an ally in ANC.

The documents were served earlier this month on US President Joe Biden, the President of the US Senate, the Speaker of the House, the Secretary of the Treasury, and several US and South African banking groups.

The US banks named in the case are Citigroup, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo.

South African banks Absa, Standard Bank and FirstRand are also mentioned.

The case was brought to the Gauteng High Court rather than the US court because US sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe since 2001 are applied by South African financial service providers within the jurisdiction of the High Court and South Africa is the main trading partner of Zimbabwe.

The US sanctions are deemed inconsistent with the Africa Free Trade Agreement, of which South Africa is a signatory, and the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (Bippa) between SA and Zimbabwe.

Fortuitous times?

A victory in a South African court would prompt South African banks to reopen banking facilities in Zimbabwe and could in turn put pressure on the US to reconsider ongoing sanctions.

The timing of the court case, coming as the United States is trying to build an international coalition against Russia for the invasion of Ukraine, could be fortuitous for Zimbabwe.

SA remained neutral on the conflict in Ukraine and refused to join the West in imposing sanctions on Russia.

“I can confirm that the president of the United States, and his government, have received court documents against illegal sanctions through the diplomatic bag of the South African Department of International Relations. We are waiting for his response, “says attorney Simba Chiando, representing ZASM, in a statement.

“I can also confirm that a director of the ZASM met with Bishop Azwihangwi Maumela, who is a PEC [provincial executive committee] member of the ANC in Limpopo, and was told that the ANC opposes illegal sanctions against Zimbabwe and is considering joining the prosecution as a friend of the court.

The sanctions have done more harm than good

The court documents detail the extent of misery inflicted on ordinary citizens of Zimbabwe by US sanctions.

The sanctions were introduced in 2001 under the Zimbabwe Democracy and Recovery Act (Zidera) with the aim of restoring order in the country following state-sanctioned land invasions and human rights violations.

The sanctions stifled Zimbabwe’s ability to meet its international financial obligations and weakened the country’s balance of payments, which in turn contributed to the currency’s collapse.

A 2019 report from Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade says sanctions force Zimbabwean importers to pay cash upfront, while loan inflows to Zimbabwean companies have declined and the country’s agricultural production has declined. due to the impossibility of importing agricultural equipment.

Zimbabweans of various political backgrounds have called for the lifting of sanctions, which have done little or nothing to alter the political landscape.

Some 20 years after the sanctions were imposed, many stressed their futility in restoring order or helping improve human rights.

Chiando says the banks interviewed have hired the most expensive legal weapons in the industry to fight the case.

“We certainly have a battle on our hands, but with the arrival of the ANC, I think we have won an important ally.”

By Ciaran Ryan

This article first appeared on Moneyweb and has been republished with permission. Read the original article here.