BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
SOUTH AFRICAN opposition leader Julius Malema has lashed at President Emmerson Mnangagwa over his decision to compensate white former commercial farmers, describing the act as treasonous and a waste of taxpayers’ money.
Mnangagwa on Tuesday signed an agreement that will see his government fork out about US$3,5 billion as compensation for infrastructure at commercial farms owned by white former commercial farmers displaced by the chaotic land redistribution of 2000.
But Malema, leader of the South Africa loudest opposition party, Economic Freedom Fighters, said Mnangagwa’s decision was misguided and manifest a lack of understanding of the real causes of the crisis in Zimbabwe.
Malema said it was a treasonous act to pay the white settlers money that Zimbabwe does not have.
The act, he added, would not resolve the crisis in the country caused by years of mismanagement
“Mnangagwa will be remembered as clueless, ideological amoeba that was prepared to trade off important gains of the struggle in order to be liked by whites,” he said.
“We deeply condemned this act of betrayal by Mnangagwa and call on ordinary Zimbabweans to reject this wasteful use of money that should be directed towards building hospitals in Zimbabwe.”
Added Malema: “His government has taken a decision to compensate the British occupiers of Zimbabwe land who lost their illegitimate rights to Zimbabwe land through the fast-track land reform programme.
“We are of the view that Mnangagwa is deeply misinformed about the real cause of the Zimbabwe crisis.
“The treasonous act of paying to white settlers’ money that Zimbabwe does not have will not resolve the crisis in Zimbabwe which is essentially political resulting from many years of mismanagement, at the centre of which Mnangagwa features prominently.”
Malema said the 1980 Lancaster House Agreement provided that the government would not engage in compulsory land acquisition and that the land distribution would be on willing buyer, willing seller basis and that government would pay with the assistance from the British government.
The South African opposition leader said after the British reneged on its compensation offer, the late former President Robert Mugabe forcefully repossessed the land.
Twenty years ago, Mugabe’s government carried out violent evictions of
4 500 white farmers and redistributed the land to around 300 000 black families, arguing it was redressing colonial land imbalances.
White farmers would be compensated for infrastructure development on the farms and not the land itself, according to the agreement signed by Mnangagwa.