The minister of rural development and land reform has tabled his budget vote in Parliament. Land reform must represent a radical and rapid break from the past without significantly disrupting agricultural production and food security. Radical change must bring real benefits to working people and the poor across South Africa. The black poor cannot be crucified at the altar of expediency if there is to be any meaning to this so-called second phase of our transition. Only frank and bold actions will measure up, and Minister Gugile Nkwinti has triumphantly taken the first step.

The building of a durable South Africa cannot be premised on “touchy feely” notions, but on objective, material reality. The majority of whites and majority of Africans live in two different worlds, one prosperous and the other poverty-stricken. And this is nowhere more pronounced than on our farms. We have to base our actions on an accurate and honest appraisal of the reality as it is. The highest priority needs to be given to the material upliftment of Africans.

In the year of celebrating our 10 years of democracy, former president Thabo Mbeki warned of allowing such nebulous concepts as “rainbow nation” to lull us into a false sense of complacency. There can be no rainbow nation without the liberation of blacks in general, and Africans in particular. Nkwinti is correct in saying black people have bent over backwards to make this nation work. It’s time for the other members of the rainbow nation to make sacrifices.

Black people must finally get their justice, human dignity and freedom. Tactics adopted to appease some or other narrow ethnic interest during the first transition for the sake of making an overall advance have run their course.

Twenty years into our democracy we are beyond expediency. The main content of this second phase of transition must be the liberation of the largest and poorest group: the African people.

The main measure of the progress this country is making is the extent to which the material conditions of African people are changing. This point cannot be lost in the excessive talk about investor confidence and fears. Any investor who does not appreciate the competing goals a government must wrestle with is probably not worth having in your country.

The painful reality is that it is still true that to be born African is to be born into hardship not experienced by whites. On the farms, it’s still a white man’s world, and abuse has been prevalent.

A small number of whites own most of the farmland. Black farmworkers and blacks in general feel a sense of injustice at this inequity. Forced removals and farm evictions have been the harshest form of humiliation our people have had to endure in their own land, and no government that claims to care for its people can allow such a situation to continue.

Tshepo Diale

Nkwe Estate

Bryer’s description of Cuba totally accurate

I refer to the article written by Keith Bryer, “Castro’s revolution brought hardship and oppression” (Business Report, July 17).

At last a commentator has described what took place in Cuba correctly. Although the previous regime was corrupt, the new regime chose the wrong economic model and that has brought enormous suffering to Cuba’s citizens.

I visited Cuba about three years ago. After discussing issues with Cubans, it became quite clear that most lived in fear of the regime and, in fact, were scared of engaging in conversations with foreigners. They would keep looking from side to side in case they were being observed by the security police and informer systems.

It is incomprehensible that “lefties” cite Cuba as a model to be copied in other countries. It reflects a very high level of ignorance and perhaps a delusionary ideological state.

Cuba is an autocratic state where almost none of the freedoms set out in our constitution are protected. Many young Cubans want to leave and I met a number who were planning to do so.

The economic system has also destroyed small business.

Vietnam also chose the wrong economic model initially. It changed its approach during the 1990s and these changes have permitted the private sector to leap forward and grow the economy and create jobs. Only fools support failed systems.

Rod Harper

Senior Partner

Cowan-Harper Attorneys

Brics development bank unlikely to help

If anyone thinks the new Brics development bank is sustainable, they are not in touch with the real world (for example Ethel Hazelhurst, Business Report, July 21). In particular, they surely cannot expect the African division to have an impact on African infrastructure in the long term. One only has to look at the African Development Bank and South Africa’s own Development Bank of Southern Africa, which are about 40 years behind the times.

To get simple decisions out of any of those two institutions takes forever. For example, a simple date change on a contact takes close on three months compared with a day with a European bank.

I say no more why Africa is so far behind and I can talk from huge experience. It’s time we look at ourselves and not blame the rest of the world for our shortcomings or lack of development. It’s time we started to do some work for a change rather than going on game drives.

Peter Hunt-Davis

Cape Quarter, Cape Town