South Africa has taken its first serious step toward "land reform" by seizing land, which was no doubt unfairly obtained, from a white farmer who did not wish to sell. I had been hoping for the best for South Africa, hoping that the majority black citizens, clearly in charge now, could mediate their well-warranted vengeful instincts. I have, I admit, been distressed by President Thabo Mbeki's foolish dive into pseudo-science regarding the AIDS problem there, but gratified by the unimpeded continuity of corporate activities and a beneficial business climate. SA has even been working with the Germans on building a modern pebble-bed reactor.
The worrisome part of the story is that one of Mbeki's deputies has publicly praised Zimbabwe for its land redistribution policies. To me it is clear that Zimbabwe has cut its own throat by alienating the skilled white farmers. I hate to see South Africa going the same route. To quote:
… But Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka says the pace of reform should be speeded up - as in neighbouring Zimbabwe, where most white-owned land has been seized by the state.
"There needs to be a bit of oomph. That's why we may need the skills of Zimbabwe to help us," she said. …
Note: Interesting angle on drug acquisition for Africa. Has anyone considered letting the government pay drug companies to do critical research rather than relying on the patent system? Patents are artificial, anti-competitive price supports that seem reasonably justified in many areas, but surely not for such a politically sensitive issue of life-and-death for millions.
9/24/2005 6:52 PM
UPDATE: Trade union boss accuses Mbeki of AIDS betrayal.
9/26/2005 9:20 AM