Malema spot on when it comes to land

2011-06-18 00:00

THERE is no denying that the African National Congress is the vehicle that freed the disenfranchised from the oppressive chains of the apartheid machinery and led them to the promised land.

Yes, there were other vehicles that contributed to the bigger picture, such as the South African Council of Churches, whose leaders hid behind the pulpit, such as Msizi Dube, and many others who were not as visible.

The Inkatha Freedom Party does not count, because, like Joshua Oupa Gqozo of the Ciskei (now part of the Eastern Cape) and Lucas Mangope of Bophuthatswana (now part of North West Province), they sold their souls, literally, to the oppressive government of the day.

They slept with the enemy and, in the process, hindered the work that was being done by liberation movements. I do not care how they want to sanitise their roles in the dark days, the fact is that they benefited while others were maimed.

One of the challenges that faced the ANC was that of transforming from a liberation movement into a political party and a government, and this challenge is most pronounced in the party's failure to deal with the land issue. It has proved to be an Achilles heel for the ruling party as it has been all talk and no action. In trying to deal with the issue, the ANC has been too concerned about stepping on people's toes to deal with the issue at hand.

I have said time and again that this country is going to explode if the land issue and the issue of an equitable distribution of wealth are not dealt with.

A lot has been said about who feeds ANC Youth League president Julius Malema information.

Whether the party tests possible policy changes by giving him information and then watches him make related statements, or whether it is power-hungry party leaders who use him as a tool to emancipate themselves and line their pockets, I do not care.

All I can tell you is that Malema's statements at the ANCYL elective conference on land are spot on.

Listen closely before you bite my head off. I do not necessarily agree with him when he says that land must be grabbed without compensation, but the government's willing buyer, willing seller policy has failed land reform. While there are willing buyers, we all know that those who own 90% or so of the land that needs to be distributed are not willing to sell. When they do want to sell, they hike their prices in order to frustrate the process or make a killing, so they can move to Sydney and live a comfortable life. They know it is the government buying for individuals or communities.

Love him or hate him, what makes Malema so relevant is that he speaks to the heart of the issue and takes no prisoners, whether or not you agree with his analysis of the issue. He is frank and unapologetic, unlike President Jacob Zuma, who criticised former president Thabo Mbeki's approach to Zimbabwe before he was elected president, only to follow suit when he was elected president.

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