[LISTEN] Pallo Jordan says leaked Mbeki paper on land is 'unfortunate'

A leaked 30 page writing on land expropriation, by the Thabo Mbeki Foundation has been met with mixed reaction.

In the pamphlet, Mbeki questions the African National Congress (ANC) and its approach to the issue of land, saying it is not representative of its founding principles of non-racialism.

In the paper, former president Jacob Zuma is accused of advancing 'a redefinition of both what the ANC is and its historic mission'.

The paper argues that while the land question is an imperative that should be addressed, it also has to be done while simultaneously responding to the "national question", which is to unite South Africans across race and class divides.

Karima Brown spoke to Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of the Witwatersrand Adam Habib and ANC Veteran Dr Pallo Jordan to unpack this.

Jordan says the paper is 'unfortunate'.

I think this pamphlet is rather unfortunate because it has not enriched discourse on the matter at all. Perhaps it distances the Thabo Mbeki Foundation from the incumbent leadership of the ANC and even dares to suggest that the incumbent leadership of the ANC has adopted a PAC position or at best an EFF position.

Dr Pallo Jordan, ANC Veteran

I find it strange because in the preface, you see on page one, speaking as members of the ANC, so the authors or author sees himself as a member of the ANC. One would have expected members of the ANC to intervene in such an inter-movement debate from inside the ANC as active participant in that debate rather than come from it as critics from outside.

Dr Pallo Jordan, ANC Veteran

No one in the ANC is suggesting that whites should be discriminated against in the resolution of the land question. Just last week the ANC set up a small body of advisers on the issue which includes members of big business, agri- business, lawyers, academics. The ANC is not approaching the land question the way in which this pamphlet is suggesting.

Dr Pallo Jordan, ANC Veteran

Habib says he agrees with Jordan that there is a sense of hypocrisy in the paper and that the foundation is not taking responsibility for the time Mbeki was in power, but there is some substance to the argument.

I think there is a level of legitimacy in that critique, where I disagree with Palo is the assumption that there isn't merit in a serious conversation, I think this document is putting forward a very serious philosophical critique. What it is saying is if you implement the land question the way it is currently being thought through, then the net effect will be that present day whites will be treated differently.

Adam Habib, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of the Witwatersrand

I think he raises important philosophical issues, I worry that the land question is too often managed on emotional terms by people and I can understand it but I think that if we are going to strategically resolve the land question then we do need a reflection that is deeper...

Adam Habib, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of the Witwatersrand

Click on the link below to listen to the full debate...


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