PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has defended his government’s decision, to pay white former commercial farmers for improvements made on land expropriated by the government.
Mnangagwa told angry party youths, who lashed out at South African opposition Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema at a party meeting Thursday, that his administration was sticking to the letter and spirit of the Constitution.
“I am sure he (Zanu PF politburo secretary for youth Pupurai Togarepi) was responding to recent statements on our decision to compensate farmers. Our Constitution is very clear on that. It does not allow us to compensate for land,” the President said.
Mnangagwa spoke after Togarepi had angrily reacted to Malema’s characterisation of the Zanu PF leader as a “sell-out” because of his decision to pay the white former farmers.
“Yesterday we saw a half-backed revolutionary called Julius Malema, he was speaking of land reform raising issues on why we were paying white farmers.
“That is an administrative issue and this is Zimbabwe. Malema must know that the land question is behind us we do not need anyone from anywhere to tell us about land,” said Togarepi.
“The young boy with his mentality has to go back to school, he is more advised to go back to ANC… he should go hang and I tell him to shut up.”
Malema argued Mnangagwa’s priorities are skewed given Zimbabwe is struggling to deliver social services to citizens but gets money to pay “people who don’t deserve it.”
“It’s a sellout position. Mnangagwa is selling out and I can tell you he will not finish his term. Zimbabweans will turn against him. Zimbabweans are swimming in poverty and he takes money to pay people who do not deserve it. They can’t afford basic things like primary health and proper education.
“He is reversing the gains of the revolution. Zimbabweans will turn against him and soon he will have nowhere to run. Mnangagwa must know that he is a sell-out,” the EFF leader said adding “anyone who compensates for expropriation of land is a sell-out.”
South Africa is struggling with coming up with a proper matrix to deal with the emotive issue of land expropriation without compensation. President Cyril Ramaphosa, on Tuesday assured white farmers in the Western Cape, that land reform as it would be done in terms of the law.
“It is not going to be land grabs where land is grabbed outside of the parameters of law,” said Ramaphosa.
Mnangagwa’s administration has set aside RTGS453 million in the current budget to pay farmers whose land was forcibly taken under the chaotic land redistribution exercise.