A South African court has ordered for the release of the Air Tanzania Airbus A220-300 that was impounded in South Africa on August 23rd.
According to the ruling given by Judge Tawala of Gauteng Lower Division Court in Johannesburg, the Tanzanian government doesn’t owe anything to Hermanus Steyn, a Namibian born farmer as claimed.
“I am of the considered view that the arbitration award ceased to exist on May 3rd, 2011 after it was made a court order. I hold the view that when the parties concluded the deed of settlement, the compromise it was in relation to the court order of May 3, 2011, and there was no arbitration award in existence at the time.
“I am therefore satisfied that this court does not have jurisdiction to attach the property of the client to confirm or found jurisdiction based on a court order of a foreign court.”
Steyn was therefore advised to take the matter to a Tanzanian court.
“The order can only be executed on the Tanzania soil as confirmed by Judge B.K.Phillip of the Tanzania Commercial Courts because there is already a court order in Tanzania.”
He henceforth quashed an earlier decision that saw the plane impounded.
The plane was impounded following an ex parte order issued 21st August after Steyn claimed he was owed millions by the Tanzanian Government.
He says that during the 1980s, Tanzania nationalized a privately owned seed and bean farm owned by Steyn and took everything, including 12 small aircraft and 250 vehicles.
In the 1990s Steyn won a lawsuit against the Tanzanian government and was awarded $33 million in compensation.
However, Tanzania only paid him $20 million, $13 million short of what they were supposed to pay.
He adds that this $13 million has since accumulated to $33million.