Home » Governance » ANC Can Do Better for SA Blacks [editorial]

President Mugabe has said South Africa needs “another liberation”.

He said this at the Sadc Headquarters in Gaborone, Botswana, where he was on a two-day familiarisation tour as the regional bloc’s chairman.

We can expect howls of fury from the usual suspects. Then their barking dogs of a media will tell us of diplomatic rows and stand-offs between Zimbabwe and South Africa.

Fear not little children. It is an idea whose time has come.

President Mugabe made the comments in light of the recent outbreak of Afrophobia in South Africa which left at least seven people dead and thousands injured or displaced. He said the reason South Africans attacked fellow Africans was the crude imbalance in the distribution of wealth in favour of whites.

Land, he pointed out, was still in the hands of a racial minority. In short, apartheid lives on in South Africa, the continent’s most sophisticated economy. The status quo cannot be sustained or defended for much longer. Ask Julius Malema.

It is easy for opportunists to turn President Mugabe’s comments against Zimbabwe, pointing to the problems the country has faced since it dared challenge white landed interests in 2000. They will put forward such issues as unemployment is high and opportunities few, there has been corruption in the implementation of the land reform. Resources have been scarce to fund implementation of Zim-Asset. The country’s indigenisation and black economic empowerment programmes have also been blighted by allegations of corruption.

What cannot be denied though is that Zimbabwe has fulfilled one of the key drivers of the liberation war — it has returned land to its owners. Funding constraints can always be resolved over time to increase productivity on the farms. Contrary to the prayers of doomsayers, Zimbabwe’s economic decline as a result of evil sanctions imposed by the West over the land reform has reached the nadir. It can only go up, with blacks the major drivers.

This is the context in which President Mugabe’s call for “another liberation” in South Africa must be understood. The ANC is the party of the great Nelson Mandela. It is the oldest liberation movement on the continent, yet it was the last to taste freedom because of a recalcitrant white minority calling South Africa their permanent home but refusing to share its resources with the black majority.

It is the same white minority that say the ANC Charter said South Africa belonged to all who live in it. But the Charter didn’t ordain black poverty and white privilege. The Charter never said blacks should live in squalor while a few whites kept all the land and mines to themselves.

But there is more. There is sentimental attachment in a majority of Zimbabweans to the ANC as a liberation movement. Zanu-PF and the ANC are kindred spirits. But the ANC is clearly under attack from forces opposed to all liberation movements in the region, neo-liberal forces who have used every aspect of the law to reduce the ruling party to a lame duck, a prisoner of its democracy, so that it cannot fulfil the aspirations of the black majority.

It is easy to condemn President Mugabe for saying the obvious that South Africa needs another liberation. But he is not the leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters. He did not create the conditions which led to its formation either.

He is only saying, as head of a sister liberation movement, the ANC can do better for blacks. It risks losing power to neo-liberal parties as white as the Democratic Alliance.

It is galling.

It makes an enemy of the rule of law.

Source : The Herald