ANC Youth leader urges South African white farmers to leave
By Editor, World News Tomorrow
HARARE – Controversial South African youth leader for the African National Congress has said ANC will follow the example of Zimbabwe’s Zanu PF and start to take over white-owned farms by the end of the year. The comments were made by Julius Malema at a mine 160 kilometers outside Harare in Zimbabwe.
The ANC Youth Wing leader, enthused by rented Zanu PF crowd, said Zimbabwe had led the way in fighting over land and promised to unleash Zimbabwean tactics on South African white farmers. He encouraged Zimbabweans to also take over white and foreign-owned companies. Malema said the people must embrace liberation and continue to fight against what he called Western imperialism.
He said: “You are not alone. Your struggle is our struggle.” Malema also said he would continue to sing the song: “Kill the Boer,” a former ANC chant against the apartheid regime. The song was last week banned in a South African court. The ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema, shot to fame by expressing his undying support for the South African President, Jacob Zuma, by saying:
“We are prepared to take up arms and kill for Zuma.”
As The Zimbabwe Mail reported elsewhere, South Africa’s ruling party, ANC is said to be planning Zimbabwean style land invasions after the FIFA 2010 World Cup, with the assistance of Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF and War Veterans Association.
On Monday last week, a member of the Zanu PF security department told our reporter that Malema’s visit to Harare was a follow up to a secret high-level discussion between Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and his South African counterpart Jacob Zuma.
Robert Mugabe has already convinced Zuma and promised him an unwavering support in the South Africanland reform and indigenisation process. Last week, a high-level delegation in the South African security forces, intelligence and media, with close links to the ruling party ANC, arrived in Harare, the Capital of Zimbabwe and they will spend sometime training at the Zimbabwe National Army’s Staff College.
South African government’s Rural Development and Land Reform, Gugule Nkwinti, has accused white farmers of scuttling the land reform programme by frustrating government’s willing buyer willing seller policy through inflating prices. He warned South Africa risks sinking into chaos as the patience of new black farmers is running thin as evidenced by sporadic farm invasions.
“If South Africans who own land don’t recognisethe reality on the ground and can no walk the mind with government in terms of what is proposed right now then in fact they are the ones who will be responsible for creating conditions of chaos which can be worse than what has been witnessed in Zimbabwe,” said Nkwinti.
Africa’s economic giant needs R75 billion to acquire 80 million hectares of land by 2014 but this target will not be reached as national coffers are running dry as a result of a litany of service delivery issues that needs to be addressed such as a long housing back log, water and electricity deliveries to millions of households. Nkwinti said the South African government is working on a policy aimed at addressing the land inequalities urging farm owners to be more flexible in land redistribution negotiations.
He said the new policy is about preventing going the disastrous way of distributing land like the one witnessed in Zimbabwe where President Robert Mugabe’s government forcibly took land from previous white owners in chaotic scenes that left many dead since the inception of the programme in 2000.
“This about preventing Zimbabwe,” said Nkwinti.
He did not elaborate on whether his government will consider amending the constitution to enable it to forcibly take land like what happened in their northern neighbours where the government had to pass legislation to change the constitution allowing it to compulsorily acquire land from white farmers. Nkwinti said just like in Zimbabwe where about 4000 white farmers owned most of the country’s arable land, land in South Africa is concentrated in the hands of a few land owners, most of whom are foreigners.
“We have a major monopoly of land ownership in South Africa and we must break that monopoly,” said Nkwinti.
Nkwinti earlier this month told parliament that the government was adopting a “use it or lose it” policy to encourage increased production capacity but his weekend comments appear to be a shift towards a more radical policy. Thousands of poor black South Africans, most of whom still live in abject poverty because of the apartheid era system are waiting for land promised at independence in 1994 and often repeated in campaign speeches by current President Jacob Zuma in his quest for political office last year.
Just like Zimbabwe, South Africa inherited an unjust land ownership system from the apartheid governments which parceled out all the best farm land to white farmers, leaving blacks to arid land not fit for agricultural purposes.
The South African government has in the past said it will not go it the Zimbabwe way and often move quickly to crush land related protests and attempts at invading farms owned by white farmers though it has largely been unable to stop farm murders but this time it appears it is starting to feel the people power.
Farm seizures are blamed for plunging Zimbabwe – once a net exporter of the staple maize grain – into severe food shortages since 2001 after black peasant farmers resettled on former white farms failed to maintain production because the government failed to support them with financial resources, inputs and skills training.