South Africa could learn a thing or two from the agrarian reform model adopted by Zimbabwe, says SACP deputy chairman and Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi.
But he was quick to stress he was not making a call for an illegal land grab.
Addressing an SA Democratic Teachers Union provincial general council in KwaZulu-Natal on Friday, Nxesi said that it had now been 100 years since the passing of the Natives Land Act “when 87 percent of the land, including all the best farmland, was reserved for whites”.
“The fight remains to end capitalist class inequality on land ownership and move towards more public use of the land,” said Nxesi.
He said recent research indicated land reform in Zimbabwe had been successful.
Nxesi listed a few “facts” about Zimbabwe’s land reform that cost thousands of jobs and displaced hundreds of thousands of people in 2000.
He said that 6 000 white owners had been replaced by more than 200 000 small black farmers.
“We might be able to learn something from the agrarian model adopted by our neighbours – essentially breaking down large-scale farms and promoting more intensive small-scale farming.
“This is not a call for an illegal land grab. In South Africa we have a constitution that recognises and facilitates the process of land restitution,” he said.
Nxesi said the constitution also required that his department pass the new Expropriation Act to govern the process.
This was being driven by his deputy, Jeremy Cronin.
Nxesi said a person either supported a constitutional process of land reform “or you continue to defend privilege and vested interests”.
He also lashed out at the financial sector and what he called “greedy bankers”.
“We need to remain vigilant against greedy bankers and financial service providers who want to use the excuse of the current capitalist crisis – something of their own creation – to entrench a rapid financialisation of our economy,” said Nxesi. - The Mercury