Is South Africa the New Zimbabwe?

[Imported from Whale Oil Beef Hooked on Blogger]

An article in the Los Angeles Times by Alexandra Fuller checks out the latest changes in South Africa. She wonders about South Africa’s proposals for the first time to allow uncompensated expropriation of land held by white farmers for black resettlement.

“WE HAVE BEEN a source for human slaves. Our countries were turned into the patrimony of colonial powers. We have been victim to our own African predators,” said South African President Thabo Mbeki in his moving inaugural speech in 1999. Mbeki’s orations have left no doubt that he knows how to turn an inspirational phrase, but does the man know how to pilot his country?

As of this week, when South Africa proposed for the first time the uncompensated expropriation of land held by white farmers for black resettlement, Mbeki looks set to sail the same course as Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe (also a fine orator but a lousy leader) in handling the probably impossible task of compensating his people for his country’s cruel history. But he should be careful: Complete economic and social chaos precipitated by fast-track land reforms could be the result.

If this path is followed then it will surely lead to destruction of teh South African economy, which is already struggling with 40% unemployment. The diamonds and gold will not save the coutnry from the shock of forced re-settlement.


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