Zimbabwe a disaster, ANC’s stalwart

via Zimbabwe a disaster, ANC’s stalwart 14 August 2014

ZIMBABWE is a disaster today, thanks to its chaotic and violent land reforms, ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe, said this week as he assured South African farmers their land would not be seized forcibly and without compensation.

“Zimbabwe was a food basket of Africa but is a disaster today,” Mantashe said, according to reports in South African media while responding to questions after addressing a dialogue on land reform and food security in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party ordered veterans of the country’s liberation struggle to invade farms owned by whites at the turn of the century after the British government told Harare they were not bound by pledges given by their predecessors to fund Zimbabwe’s land reform.

A chaotic and violent campaign followed, forcing more than 4,000 white farmers off their properties with hundreds of thousands of black Zimbabweans resettled on the land in a development that, according to Mugabe, was aimed at addressing colonial imbalances in ownership of the resource.

However, agricultural output collapsed, triggering a decade-long economic crisis which saw millions of Zimbabweans stream across the country’s borders to escape the hardships.

Mugabe blames the economic problems on sanctions imposed by the West at the behest of an angry Britain to punish Harare for the land seizures while critics say the violent and haphazard implementation of the reforms by a notoriously incompetent government worsened the situation.

Regional countries also sneezed as Zimbabwe struggled with its decade-long economic cold but none more than South Africa.
More than one million Zimbabweans are said to have crossed the Limpopo to escape hardships back home, increasing the pressure on jobs, housing and other basic services in South Africa.

The ANC-led government was this week forced to extend temporary residence permits for some 250,000 Zimbabweans after admitting that “it will take time for (Zimbabwe) to fully stabilise”.

Mantashe assured South African farmers that the government would not follow Harare’s example as Pretoria moves to address criticism over the slow pace of land reform which is described as among the ANC’s major failures since 1994.

“We will not do expropriation of land without compensation because that would be disastrous,” he said. “We are not going to grab your farms. If your land is sold, it will be for compensation.”

White farmers, he added, would be expected to help drive the process.
“Farmers must be architects and not victims of change,” he said adding that the land question in South Africa should be allowed to become “desperate”.

And unlike in Zimbabwe, where the former white farmers and their workers were kicked off the land, the ANC is proposing to ensure both groups benefit under the country’s land reforms.

The SA government is proposing that under the reforms farm workers would assume ownership of half the land on which they are employed with the historic owner retaining the other half which would be “proportional to their contribution to the development of the land, based on the number of years they had worked on the land”.

Mantashe said those opposed to the policy and claiming it could lead to food insecurity should come up with alternatives.
“We could agree that the 50% sharing of land between farmers and workers is not a good idea. But, then we need to hear what is the good idea,” he said.


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    What a cheek. The Zuma led Government and the Mbeki lead Government exacerbated the situation in Zimbabwe by propping up and agreeing with the dictator. The still refuse to release documents on the last election. Zimbabwe will survive, but for us the people we will never forget what you helped do to us. This Administration if you can call it that is on it’s way out. The people of Zimbabwe will get through this. I would urge any future leaders to withdraw Zimbabwe from the SADEC Club of dictators.

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    just saying 7 years ago

    If our farmers had been more proactive and our government had vision for a better future this disastrous so called ‘land reform programme’ wouldn’t have come about. Like most situations that go wrong there are always two sides to blame. Whether anyone likes or not we will have to revise the land issue notwithstanding that it is supposedly entrenched in the new constitution given the ongoing Black on Black land seizures.I hope & pray that our southern brothers will act in the best interests of all their citizens and come up with a viable plan. Should they fail it will have serious implications for the entire region.

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    Angela Wigmore 7 years ago

    I don’t think South African farmers should, or will, take much comfort from this politician’s assurances. After all, they have been watching the Zimbabwe scenario. And they have been subjected to murderous onslaughts since 1994, or before.

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    Angela Wigmore 7 years ago

    And with good reason T!!! If you want to make such comments, why not at least clarify them?

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    Rwendo 7 years ago

    If the commercial farmers are wise, they will actively engage the ANC for policies around the type of suggestions that our farmers began to make ( establishing a fund, offering underutilized land for sale, sponsoring a mentoring program for new black etc.) that we heard of in the early days of land invasion.

    Now, when the ANC is not under threat. Not later when land redistribution may become a strategy and tool for political survival. They should be proactive rather than reactive, manage their change rather than be managed by it. As they did with democracy up to the 1994 elections, again unlike us in 1980.

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      Umwrong 7 years ago

      Holy moly, I have been saying this all along. There have been instances, such as with Midlands farmers, where this has happened. The Transvaal Agricultural Union has black members that are well represented. Times are a-changin’.

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    There is no crisis in Zimbabwe – Thabo Mbeki’s famous quote – maybe through a booze induced haze !!

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    Tjingababili 7 years ago


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    Ndaneta ndaneta 7 years ago

    Rwendo! You hit the nail on the head.

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    Tongoona 7 years ago

    Hope ANC does not become partisan about land reform and also hope they don’t become as greedy as the ruling elite who, through abuse of power, are multiple farm owners. The youth being used by the ruling elite as shield against elitist corrupt practices have no land and worse still all crown land has been used for resettlement. The youth of today will fight for land with their children. Land does not grow but is enough for us all if shared with wisdom and foresight. ANC be sane minded about this issue otherwise you will destroy yourself beyond repair. Be careful.

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    Naison Nyereyegona 7 years ago

    Gwade Manthanshe is acting like a rat which bites and blows air to the wound to ease pain in order to bite again with its victim unaware of what is happening. Siting on one of the most potentially explossive bomb ever to hit any country on the African continent, Manthanshe should know that South Africa is the biggest disaster ever to befall humanity. Only in South Africa does one find white people filthy rich no matter how uneducated they are whilst blacks live in abject poverty in plastic and tin houses. Zuma should be ashamed to call himself president of the country. Zuma and Monthanshe are being urged daily to avoid land reform, indiginisation and economic redistribution Zimbabwe style while their people are calling for just that daily. The tradgedy is that there will soon be an explossion in South Africa such as has not been seen anywhere in the world. Maintaining the status quo in South Africa is inhuman and against God’s law.

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      Umwrong 7 years ago

      You fail to mention that 400 000 whites now live in that abject poverty.

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    Expat 7 years ago

    Comment to ‘ Just Saying’ if you were aware 1998 at an ‘all stakeholders’ Conference held in Harare,Zimbabwe it was agreed by all parties on a system of implementation for the land Reform Programme to overcome the historical imbalances of the past – the result of this ‘cross the board’ agreement is the continuation of agriculture as the mainstay of the Zimbabwean economy. The current Abortion of a land reform programme is out of the need of Mugabe to flex his political muscles at his displeasure at what he perceived as the commercial farmers support for an opposition party! A large proportion of the Commercial farmers were already lending huge support to indigenous farmers in their surrounding area’s and a large number even had plans to subdivide their holdings in order to support the resettlement of indigenous farmers into block’s of sustainable area’s. I know as i was one of these farmers, so as to co-operating with the powers that be is all very well, but if the situation is not favourable to those that pull the strings they will change direction even if it means the downfall of an economy!

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    austin 7 years ago

    In 1980 the UK recognised that a major problem in most newly independent countries was urban drift. The UK offered funds to prevent urban drift – the funds would, in part, enable willing buyer willing seller transactions. The UK noted that much of the land acquired with their funds so far was not allocated to the povo to prevent urban drift and, worse, the newly acquired land was rapidly degraded by tree felling and lack of basic maintenance to prevent soil loss. Also one big wig had taken personal possession of 76 ranches. The Government failed to take any measures to prevent urban drift so the UK stopped wasting its aid money that was merely enriching big wigs.

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    It is going to take generations to right the wrongs of over 400 hundred years of white domination, if at all.

    What’s more likely to happen is a few blacks taking over from whites as is obtaining in Zim today.

    In other words, the Continent’s fate was sealed ages ago.
    We are doomed.