South Africa’s former President Thabo Mbeki has lambasted the governing African National Congress (ANC) for turning into “a black party”.
He made the comment as he criticised the party’s decision to expropriate white-owned land without compensation.
The ANC was targeting white people and had abandoned its commitment to “non-racialism”, Mr Mbeki warned.
The party says it is pursuing the policy to tackle racial inequality in land ownership.
Nearly a quarter of a century after the end of racist system of apartheid, white people – who make up 9% of the population – own 72% of the farmland that is held by individuals, government figures show.
Up until recently, the official policy was to redistribute land on a willing-seller-willing-buyer principle but this has taken a different turn since the ANC backed expropriation without compensation as a way to redress the historic inequalities.
ANC ‘does not represent South Africa’
Mr Mbeki made his comments in a pamphlet leaked to local media. The pamphlet was published by the Thabo Mbeki Foundation, and is widely believed to have been written by the former president.
In it, he traced the historical commitment of his party, the ANC, to non-racialism, saying that it has “stood for the freedom of all humanity, black and white”.
He said that forcibly taking land from white people and giving it to black people represented an abandonment of that principle.
“It is no longer a representative of the people of South Africa. Rather, as its former President, Jacob Zuma, said, it is a black party,” he stated in the pamphlet.