Gaborone — President Robert Mugabe says South Africa needs “another liberation” because white people still own most of the land and have most opportunities.
Speaking in neighbouring Botswana where he had gone on a familiarisation tour of the Sadc secretariat, Mugabe said the political dispensation brought by former South African leader, the late Nelson Mandela, did not address disparities between blacks and whites.
“It is a matter of the whites keeping things to themselves and the political dispensation brought in by Mandela, (that) did not address the question of disparities between whites and blacks, and this is what must be addressed,” he told journalists in Gaborone.
Mugabe was responding to a question from City Press on whether he felt the South African government had done enough following attacks against foreign nationals.
The Zimbabwean leader said he was satisfied with the South African government’s response to the attacks, but it was understandable in the light of the unemployment and competition for jobs.
He said white people still had the most employment opportunities and most of the land was in white hands.
“They are not talking in the country of whites being unemployed,” Mugabe said.
“It is blacks who are unemployed. This is what they must address first and foremost.”
He also added that xenophobic attitudes needed to be addressed.
“People from different tribal backgrounds may be resenting, it is a process that they will have,” Mugabe said.
“Even in our own countries, we have little resentment of outsiders, but it doesn’t matter if it is little, that means one or two people may be expressing it. But the majority are for inter-mixture.
“But then you have people who are, in fact, those we called oppressors yesterday still in the position, occupying the positions, and (hanging on to) the advantages and the opportunities that they allocated to themselves during colonialism, and they still hang on to them and do not want to let go, and then you have a difficult situation, and this is what South Africa must be helped to overcome.”
He said countries like Zimbabwe had overcome oppression and inequalities of land ownership.
“But if you go to South Africa, it is a different story. We need to help them, they need another liberation,” he said.
At the Press conference, Mugabe and Sadc executive secretary Stergomena Tax, who flanked him, went to great lengths to dispel rumours that his reception in Botswana was inadequate.
Relations between Mugabe and Botswana’s Ian Khama, the deputy chairperson of Sadc, have been strained.
Khama has been critical of Mugabe in the past and Botswana differed with Sadc on the Zimbabwean elections in 2013, which the regional bloc declared free and fair.
Mugabe said his visit to Botswana was not a State visit, so it did not have to be accompanied by an elaborate ceremony.
Mugabe did, however, have a private lunch with Khama at State House in Gabarone before the press conference.
“Our tummies are full,” Mugabe joked with journalists. — City Press/Staff Reporter