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Thabo Mbeki Criticizes Zimbabwe Land Reforms

Former South African president Thabo Mbeki
Former South African president Thabo Mbeki says by grabbing white-owned farms without reparations, Zanu PF set a bad example that no other African country should follow.

The Newsday newspaper quotes Mbeki as telling a conference in South Africa that he tried but failed to dissuade President Robert Mugabe from sanctioning the land grabs that displaced more than 3,500 white farmers and thousands of their employees.

The short-term consequences included economic collapse and massive food shortages in the country. Many African countries are still trying to address land imbalances, with ownership heavily skewed in favor of a few white people.

Some in South Africa have suggested that the African National Congress government should abandon its willing-buyer-willing-seller policy and go the Zimbabwean way, but the ruling party is opposed to the idea.

Political commentator Nkululeko Sibanda believes that “President Mbeki is right in saying that such a process will lead into massive economic destabilization which we may never know that a country will recover from.”

Sibanda said, “In the interim, I agree with him to say we should wait until we have long-term outcomes from the Zimbabwe situation but in the short-term the Zimbabwe situation is too early to judge.”