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Mbeki wonders if black people really want commercial farms – The Citizen

In an interview about eNCA & # 39; s program The 1st Citizen, former president Thabo Mbeki discussed his vision of South Africa for 25 years in democracy.

Host Aldrin Sampear asked him to comment on the debate about the country, an issue he had already addressed in interviews to Sunday newspapers during the weekend.

Mbeki replied that South Africa should do the "landing", but based on "an objective understanding of what the challenges are and what we should do about it".

He said he did not know if the constitutional amendment was the answer. "I would have preferred to see the nature of the challenge before we came to resolutions. Once you understand it, say what action you will take. & # 39;

READ ALSO: Mbeki says ANC has lost the conspiracy with country's expropriation decision

When Sampear asked him why it was apparently a challenge for Mbeki to bring about the redistribution and restitution of the land under his leadership, Mbeki replied: "It's because the ANC never determined it used to be such pressure. That is why I say we must understand the nature of the problem. You take the problem.

"We said there must be a land restoration process. Land claims. We have set up a system and a structure for that, apparently too slow. It didn't even have a court and a permanent judge, and all of that. That had to be improved.

& # 39; Then we said to the land bank: & # 39; Some people go to you to borrow money to go into commercial agriculture. & # 39;

"The land bank is a state bank. So you have to respond to this because it is part of the transformation process. At one point, the Land Bank itself ran into problems, etc. & # 39;

Mbeki said that during his tenure, the dominating problems that the government had identified were, rather, poverty, unemployment, homelessness and things like this & # 39; goods.

& # 39; So we said let's use resources to tackle these things. Whether we have succeeded or not is another matter. But I don't think it was ever obvious that there is enormous hunger among farmers among black people, for example. & # 39;

He went against the persistent assumption that this was even a real problem today.

"Why do you suppose? It is very clear to me that there is enormous pressure on land around urban areas. That's why you find these land occupations. They are not in rural areas. They are around urban areas, and understandably. So that is the land matter that needs to be addressed.

"But you see that I was against the argument that there were settlers who were expropriating our country without compensation, and now it is our turn to expropriate the land of them without compensation to give to our people.

"Immediately, for me as an ANC person, I will say that when the ANC says we will expropriate anyone and give it to our people … who, in the eyes of the ANC, are among the South African population, not our people? Another party can say that … but the ANC cannot. "

He pointed out that the ANC mentioned the Charter of Freedom as a basic and primary policy document.

"The Freedom Charter says the land will be shared between all those who work it. Why do we start from that?"

ANC & # 39; s first strategic task is still incomplete

Mbeki had previously said that the first & # 39; strategic task & # 39; of the ANC had been to banish the legacy of colonialism and apartheid.

"I would say that we are still faced with the same task to this day. We have not yet achieved it. That is why you see the evidence of the old socio-economic order everywhere."

He said, however, that the party "had learned a lot about what needs to happen to eradicate that legacy … and [has] made many mistakes in the process … and in some cases made progress ".

"What we need to do now is to think seriously again to achieve that goal. What should we do, given our experience of the past 25 years, about the economy, about education, about human settlements, about everything."

He said his old description in the parliament of "two South Africans" was still true and had not been overcome because it was "difficult" to do this.

Mbeki acknowledged that the & # 39; racing element & # 39; was still present in South Africa.

"You take the economy, for example … we had an international advisory investment board consisting of prominent business people from around the world who would meet twice a year and make their own comments about what they thought should happen, in their own country and in terms of our relationship with the rest of the world.

"There is a problem that they continued to raise, which we found difficult at some point to answer – namely that the big companies in South Africa, the big companies, have levels of liquidity that are abnormally high that you would not have at companies find Worldwide Why?

"They would ask us this question every time we met. In the end, we had to answer it.

"We said the answer is that the owners of large volumes of capital are uncertain about the future of South Africa. Many of them said that this transition from apartheid to democracy in 1994 was too good to be true. Something could be wrong to go.

"They were therefore cautious with their approach to investing in the South African economy. Because something goes wrong tomorrow. After all, we are an African country. That is the argument. It is more than policy uncertainty. It is that we are an African country If you look at the history of the continent, look at what happened, that was the argument: military coups elsewhere, and here we had a smooth transition.

"To go from a white minority that was very oppressive to a black government and a black majority that is very forgiving. How long will that take? It was that kind of question from some investors.

"The incentive to invest is decreasing."

He said he met an American economist last year who had won the Nobel Prize in Economics, who raised the issue that South African banks seemed more risk-averse than their US or EU counterparts.

"The South African banks, if you ask them for a substantial amount of credit to start a business, must be almost certain of 100% success before they lend you the money."

The former president said that if it could be demonstrated that this is the case, the government should contact the banks about why.

The next 25 years

Mbeki & # 39; s desire for the country's next 25 years was that South Africa would learn from the first 25 what it would do in the coming period, "which will be very different".

"Why do we have so many millions of our unemployed people? They don't have the skills that the modern economy and society need. Let's pay attention to this issue. We won't solve the problem of unemployment unless we Why do we continue to brag, as if it is a great achievement, that we offer so many people social well-being? It is not an achievement, it is a failure … in the sense that if those people were working, they would did not need subsidies.

"In the next 25 years we should say that we are drastically reducing the number of people who are unemployed; we have radically reduced the inequality levels between black and white, men and women … all those things."

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