Mbeki opposes land redistribution, says Zuma redefined ANC as a ‘black party’ in leaked memo

According to BusinessLIVE Thabo Mbeki has slammed the ANC’s new policy on land redistribution, seeing the party as having abandoned its non-racialist roots.

In a 30 page pamphlet leaked from the Mbeki Foundation, Mbeki decried how former president Jacob Zuma called on ‘black parties’ to unite to get a two thirds majority on the land issue.

Mbeki worried that Zuma had redefined the ANC from being a party that eschewed racialism, as a ‘black party’.

The memo also pointed out that if we were to abandon constitutional democracy in favour of a parliamentary one as Zuma desired, this would have allowed the government more leeway to get captured.

With regards to land redistribution, Mbeki said that the current ANC is being led by the EFF, which he said presented a “vulgar and gross misrepresentation of the historic position of the ANC”.

My Take

In 2004, The Guardian reported on Mbeki’s response to a journalist who pointed out South Africa’s high rate of rape.

“She was saying our cultures, traditions and religions as Africans inherently make every African man a potential rapist … [a] view which defines the African people as barbaric savages.”

He further stated that newspapers like the Citizen hadn’t accepted black rule.

I bring this example up to illustrate something.

A lot of what we see today in terms of resentment politics are the grown up seeds that Mbeki planted when he was president to try and shield himself from the dreadful facts of his tenure.

When Zuma and his cronies pushed the “White monopoly capital” meme to distract from state capture, it was really just the same trick. Call the critic a racist, and people will argue about that rather than the actual criticism.

Now a lot of what Mbeki has to say about land redistribution I agree with. The fact is that expropriation without compensation is not the historic position of the ANC, otherwise it would have done it decades ago.

If Mbeki had agreed with the policy, he’d have done it. I mean why are people surprised that he doesn’t?

It is the EFF’s policy – and to say that the current ANC is being led by the EFF on the issue is just factual.

If you are in favour of the policy then credit has to go to the EFF, if you’re against it then you need to condemn the ANC for kow-towing to the EFF.

The ANC rather than outflanking the EFF, appears to be frightened of the red berets.

So there is a lot I agree with there – but I do not think it is fair to claim that Zuma somehow redefined the party when Mbeki was paying those same tricks when he was president.

  • Picture courtesy of GCIS via Flickr.

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