Land expropriation: Mbeki slams ANC for deviating from non-racialism

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Former president Thabo Mbeki. (Jeffrey Abrahams, Gallo Images, file)
Former president Thabo Mbeki. (Jeffrey Abrahams, Gallo Images, file)

Former president Thabo Mbeki has lashed out at the ANC, saying its new policy to expropriate land without compensation is a deviation from non-racialism, which is the party's founding principle.

This is contained in a 30-page leaked document which has the Thabo Mbeki Foundation emblem on it. It states that taking land from white people to give to black people suggests that whites are not "fully South African".

"The question is what should be done to acquire the required land without communicating a wrong principle that such land acquisition is being conducted because sections of our population must surrender land they own to others who are allegedly properly South African, whereas such land owners are, in effect, not accepted by government as being fully South African, enjoying equal rights with all other South Africans, black and white?"

READ: Constitutional review committee to ask for extension for its work on section 25

The document says the ANC has failed to explain an important policy change to "address a historical injustice to expropriate without compensation from one national group for the benefit of another national group".

It details the ANC's major decisions on land dating back to the Freedom Charter and the formation of the splinter Pan African Congress which considered the Freedom Charter's inclusion of the principle "South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and white" as a betrayal.

Mbeki also slammed former president Jacob Zuma for calling on "black parties", including the ANC, to unite to make up the two-thirds majority needed to amend the Constitution, to allow for land expropriation without compensation, arguing that the ANC had always represented both blacks and whites.

READ: Ramaphosa assures diplomatic community that land reform will be done in an 'orderly manner'

Zuma made the comments last year when addressing traditional leaders.

"As part of this, he also made bold to change the very nature of the ANC, characterising it as a 'black party'," the document reads.

"It might be that at that time many in the ANC did not understand that what Zuma was advancing, was, in fact, a fundamental redefinition of both what the ANC is and its historic mission."

'Vulgar and gross misrepresentation of ANC's historic position'

Mbeki also chastises Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema who criticised Cope leader Mosiuoa Lekota for asking the ANC who "our people" are.

Malema said in response to Lekota's question that, as a former freedom fighter and former member of the ANC, he should know that "our people" referred to "the blacks in general and the Africans in particular".

READ: Land plan has some upside, big risks, says IRR

Mbeki, however, states that excluding white people was "vulgar and gross misrepresentation of the ANC's historic position".

"Obviously this means that those who are not 'our people', according to the EFF, whose land must be expropriated without compensation, are the white section of our population."

He said that Malema, and probably others in the EFF, had not been exposed to the ANC's documents that articulate its principles.

"The EFF position concerning the matter of who 'our people' are, as explained by Julius Malema as quoted above, is of course a vulgar and gross misrepresentation of the historic positions of the ANC on the national question."

Mbeki maintains that the current Constitution allows for expropriation without compensation to redress the imbalances of the past.

"Accordingly we strongly assert that all the controversy about the principle and practice of land expropriation without compensation has been misplaced because even our Constitution allows for this to happen, and has authorised the approval of legislation which would make this possible through approved statues," document states.

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