South Africa could learn about speedy land reform from its neighbour Zimbabwe, Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka said on Wednesday.
"We've got lessons to learn from Zimbabwe -- how to do it fast," she told an African distance-education conference in Pretoria.
There is a general complaint in South Africa that land reform is too slow, too structured and "that we need a bit of an oomph".
In Zimbabwe, that "oomph" of which Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka speaks has turned a breadbasket nation into the seat of dire famine, utterly collapsed a once-flourishing economy, seen game and ecological preserves turned into free-for-all bushmeat and ivory supermarkets with full encouragement of the government, turned once-productive farms into vacation homes for corrupt politicos, destroyed the homes of hundreds of thousands of poor Zimbabweans, and employed organized rape and murder as political tactics. I'd heard rumors that some South Africans were becoming concerned Mbeki might go the Mugabe route after Mandela dies, but thought it unlikely -- Mbeki hadn't taken a firm stance against Mugabe, but he hadn't endorsed him either.
It doesn't seem quite so unlikely now.