Residents build shacks on a piece of land in Ezibeleni. Picture: SIMTEMBILE MGIDI
Residents build shacks on a piece of land in Ezibeleni. Picture: SIMTEMBILE MGIDI

RWT Lloyd seems to assume that the transformation of peasants into uprooted, landless vagabonds living in wretched conditions in Mozambique was a benevolent act (“Beware, ANC may be on Mozambican road to ruin”, February 6). It was good for the economy, he thinks. Whose economy, we may ask?

No, it wasn’t. Land dispossession was part of the original sin of Portuguese capitalism in Mozambique. The liberation struggle returned the land to the people. As a result, thousands of Mozambicans today live on and from the land and the resources it provides.

Was the process perfect? Not at all. But the people are better off on their land, unlike in SA where the people continue to be foreigners in their own land. Most of the land, notably the best land, is in the hands of a handful of white people. 

Mozambique is not SA, and the Portuguese are not the Dutch, or the Afrikaners, or the British. Land expropriation in SA does not have to produce the same results as in Mozambique.

Finally, beware of fear-mongering about land expropriation. The settlers’ original sin in SA must be atoned for in land expropriation, and then deal with the consequences. Freedom brings both pleasure and pain. 

Dr David Matsinhe

Ottawa, Canada