Monday, August 18, 2003

South Africa: our land reform won't be like Zimbabwe's

Last week, South Africa's chief land claims commissioner, Tozi Gwanya, caused an uproar when he compared the current situation in South Africa to that of Zimbabwe 20-some years ago. He was quoted in this story as saying: "... white farmers in Zimbabwe had a negative attitude to land reform for the past 20 years. They want to talk now, but it's too late. We can prevent a similar situation if farmers [here] begin to co-operate."

Note ... the quote above is slightly different from the quote that appears in the following story, even though it's from the same news organization. However, the gist of the quote is the same.

And now, the spokesperson for the agriculture minister has come out to reassure people and deny what Tozi Gwanya said.

The South African Land Claims Commission has been criticized for moving slowly and recently complained about being underfunded. To put Gwanya's comments in context ... he was at a discussion where the high price of land was raised. The Commission is charged with buying land from its current (white) owners and redistributing it to black farmers.