The South African Parliament yesterday paid tribute to the late former President Robert Mugabe, describing him as an icon of the liberation of Africa.
The legislators said Zimbabwe should be allowed to solve its problems without the interference of external forces and illegal sanctions imposed on it by Western countries should be lifted.
Paying tribute to Cde Mugabe, African National Congress (ANC) MP Cde Joseph Maswanganyi said sanctions had done harm to the economy and people of Zimbabwe.
Cde Mugabe died in Singapore on September 6 at the age of 95 and was declared a national hero before burial at his rural home in Zvimba, Mashonaland West Province, in line with his family’s wishes.
“Today we join the people of Zimbabwe under President Mnangagwa to call for the lifting of sanctions on Zimbabwe which have done more harm to the people and the economy of Zimbabwe,” Cde Maswanganyi said.
“Our approach to this again would be guided by our principle that the problems of Zimbabwe will be solved by Zimbabweans themselves and through multilateral platforms like SADC and the African Union.”
Cde Maswanganyi said the late former President Mugabe would be remembered for his bold step on land redistribution, which Zimbabwe is still severely paying for through Western-imposed sanctions.
He said Zimbabwe’s land reform was inspirational to South Africa which is on course to redistribute its land to the landless majority.
“Some years ago, the people of Zimbabwe under the leadership of President Mugabe decided to advance with their land reform programme,” he said.
“This has raised a number of responses from around the world with some of the Western forces putting Zimbabwe under difficult circumstances through sanctions.
“As South Africans, we would never be threatened by any force to expropriate land without compensation. We will learn from the mistakes and the good that the Zimbabweans have done.”
Cde Maswanganyi challenged Africans to reject Western-imposed narratives that denigrate African heroes through telling their own stories.
Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) president Mr Julius Malema had moved the motion to honour Zimbabwe’s founding father, describing him as an unwavering pan-Africanist.
He concurred with Cde Maswanganyi that the punitive sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe should be lifted.
“President Mugabe was a devoted pan-Africanist, principled revolutionary with unwavering commitment to the cause of the liberation of Africa and development of the African continent in a manner that puts African people first,” he said.
“We acknowledge that he stands head and shoulders above the rest in his commitment to resolve the timeless question of the return of the African land back to African people, of the use of the African wealth for the development of Africa.”
Mr Malema said under Cde Mugabe’s leadership, Zimbabwe sought to change the course of history through empowering its people.
He said this put him and the nation at crossroads with neo imperialists who still wanted to control Africa’s resources.
Mr Malema said the Zimbabwean story should inspire other African countries whose focus is to address colonial injustices through empowering the black majority.
He said sacrifices by the late former President should inspire today’s youths to fight for what is right while rejecting Western influence.
“Robert Gabriel Mugabe was one of the distinguished African leaders who sacrificed their youth for the emancipation of all Africans for the restoration of our right to humanity denied over generations by the colonialist forces,” said Mr Malema.
“We suffered untold humiliation at the hands of white people who stand here today and lecture us about human rights, who want to tell us how to feel about the pain they caused us.”