29 March, 2010 11:40:00
HARARE – South Africa’s ruling party ANC is planning Zimbabwean style land invasions after the FIFA 2010 World Cup, amid reports Zimbabwe’s Zanu PF and War Veterans Association will provide crucial support for the programme, sources in Zimbabwe said on Monday.
Controversial African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) President, Julius Malema, is set to visit Zimbabwe for a series of meetings with Zanu PF counterparts. The crucial meeting will go a long way in exchanging ideas and preparatory stages for both logistics and mobilisation for sporadic land invasions across the country.
A member of the Zanu PF security department told our reporter that the basis of Malema’s visit to Harare is a follow up to a secret discussion between President Mugabe and his South African counterpart Jacob Zuma, three weeks ago.
The source said when South African President Jacob Zuma visited Zimbabwe during the coalition talks between Zanu PF and the MDC, he discussed at length, matters ranging from the British media’s personal attacks on his private life during the recent visit to the United Kingdom and the need to expedite South African land reform.
It is at this stage that Mugabe converted Zuma into his camp, and the two leaders agreed to join hands in actively assisting each other in the land reform and indigenisation process.
This week, a high-level delegation in the South African security forces, intelligence and media with close links to the ruling party ANC are travelling to Zimbabwe and they will spend three months training at the Zimbabwe National Army’s Staff College.
Senior Zimbabwe National army officers who led Zimbabwe’s land invasions will train their South African counterparts and impart knowledge based on their experiences.
A source said, South African land invasion factor is the reason why Zimbabwean President Mugabe has identified Jabulani Sibanda as the prefered choice to lead the Zimbabwe War Veterans Association in the association’s reported power struggles.
Sibanda’s speaks Ndebele and this is an important factor in his abilities to communicate with South Africa’s ANC land invadors, the source said.
Zanu PF Youth League national secretary for administration Leslie Ncube said Malema was visiting Zimbabwe to discuss and share ideas on “youth empowerment and revolutionary tactics”.
“The ANCYL president will be arriving next week. It will be a three-day visit and other executive members of the ANC youth league will accompany him,” Ncube said.
The Zanu PF youth official said the ANC and his party have enjoyed cordial relationships that date back to the liberation struggle adding these ties would be further strengthened by Malema’s visit.
“We share the same revolutionary history and they (visiting delegates) are coming to learn from our agrarian reform and indigenisation.
“The ANC is about to expand its land reforms, and we will share advice and discuss how resources should be equitably distributed to the youth and also how they can benefit from natural resources such as mining,” Ncube said.
Speaking to South African media, Gugule Nkwinti, the Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform 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 recognise the 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 R 75 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.
Source:The Zimbabwe Mail