|Previous Section||Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|
Baroness Park of Monmouth: My Lords, I think that I have credentials too. I was denounced on Salisbury radio in the Smith regime as a traitor and a communist because I was in regular touch with ZANU and ZAPU and I was responsible for exfiltrating, in fact, smuggling, out of the Congo a ZANU leader who later, I am grateful to say, gave me credit for that in a book. The noble Lord should always remember that a great many people have roots in Africa.
Lord Redesdale: My Lords, I shall treasure the image of the noble Baroness as a communist. As I was saying, halfway through Nelson Mandela's speech everyone left to travel on their free buses. I asked people why they were leaving. The majority said that they had been transported to the rally on free buses and that if they did not go then the buses would depart. I stayed on to hear Mr Mandela's absolutely fantastic speech in which he referred to racial tolerance. I then left as the ZANU-PF rally turned into rather a rant. However, I discovered that the police had been told to allow no one to leave the stadium until after the ZANU-PF rally had finished. There were approximately 3,000 people in the stadium listening to the rally and 5,000 people were crammed within the perimeter fence having been told they were not allowed to leave until the president had finished speaking. That gave an illustration of the police misusing their powers back in 1991.
Another issue I wish to mention is the disgusting treatment of Chief Justice Gubbay, a man who has devoted his professional life to the cause of justice and racial equality both during the Rhodesian regime and also during the term of the present Zimbabwean Government. There have been disgraceful attacks on Chief Justice Gubbay in Parliament. These attacks have been both racial and anti-Semitic in their motivation. The judgments of Chief Justice Gubbay have had enormous significance across the Commonwealth, not just in Zimbabwe, and his judgments have influenced the decisions of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in this country and the Canadian Supreme Court. Chief Justice Gubbay has stood up for the rule of law. It will be interesting to
Lord Howell of Guildford: My Lords, thanks to the noble Lord, Lord St John of Bletso, we have had a feast of experience and knowledge deployed on this subject this afternoon. I was particularly glad that my noble friend Lady Chalker of Wallasey was able to contribute to the debate because her knowledge of this whole region is second to none.
In the few minutes allocated to me, I shall concentrate on two areas. I shall refer to South Africa, because I share the view expressed in the remarkable speech of the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Guildford that it is the key to the prosperity of the whole region. Inevitably, I shall have something to say on Zimbabwe, because that is where the infection lies that could destroy the whole region. I shall return to the notable speeches of my noble friends Lady Park of Monmouth and Lord Vivian and the remarks they made in that regard. I shall have to devote some minutes to Zimbabwe because I find incomprehensible the silence of the Government in the face of the events in recent days. I find the actions in recent days of European Union officials and our partners in the European Union quite outrageous.
I shall mention those matters in due course. However, I shall start on a more positive note. Looking at the great, fantastic and beautiful country of South Africa there is much to be thankful for in terms of what has happened and much to be grateful for in terms of what has not happened. The great utilities and industries of South Africa have adapted and survived. The extraordinary patience of the people of South Africa through all that they have been through--still now they are possibly not getting some of the benefits that were promised by the more enthusiastic politicians when the horror of apartheid came to an end--always amazes me every time I visit the country.
There has not been the civil war between the Inkatha and the rest of the country that many experts thought would occur. I remember Sir Laurens van der Post (sadly now deceased) telling me that he thought a civil war inevitable. It has not happened; that is wonderful. There has been the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, driven forward by giants like Bishop Tutu and Nelson Mandela. As I see how that has worked, I ponder whether that is a preferable model in trying to heal the horrors and scars of the past to the habit--it seems rather widespread--of opening up every conceivable scar, digging into every conceivable
If one is continuing in this optimistic vein, there are signs that the horrific level of crime is being somewhat curbed. Someone suggested to me recently that central Johannesburg, which had become a byword for crime and violence, was beginning to improve.
What we know to be a great country has come through enormous trials, prospering in some ways although not in others. It is a country we should be proud to visit and anxious to help, and through help to South Africa to bring prosperity and stability to the whole region.
I come now to the "buts". The first "but" is that the mood of reconciliation is somewhat fragile and could be fading. There is talk of "re-racialising" in South Africa, of two nations, and other grim, divisive thoughts which were not intended by Nelson Mandela and others. He has made some strong remarks recently which must cause worry to all South Africa's friends. He said:
The plague of AIDS has been eloquently referred to by many speakers, and the curious comments of President Mbeki, which seem to hold things back. I hope that that can be sorted out; but the shadow of AIDS is horrific.
The unhappiest aspect is that the jobs have not materialised. There is unemployment on a massive scale in that whole country. The official figure is, I believe, 25 per cent. Some say that it is as high as 36 per cent. The labour force is growing at 2.2 per cent a year. As the noble Lord, Lord St John of Bletso, and others said, growth of 6 per cent is needed. We are not getting that kind of growth in Europe and certainly not in South Africa or Southern Africa. A huge uplift in the dynamism of South Africa--and one hopes, then, of southern Africa--is needed even to keep matters as they are and to match the growth in the labour force.
There are some positive and some negative factors. The Finance Minister of South Africa, Trevor Manuel, is an excellent appointment--a very able man. He has imbued in the international community a feeling that the South African economy, within severe constraints, is well run. He is pressing forward with a reform agenda. He is pursuing a privatisation programme. Although not everyone may agree that that is right, I believe it is the right way forward for the southern African economy. Labour market reforms are being pursued. The budget was well received last month.
However, on the negative side, there is the poor level of job creation to which I referred, the high level of crime, regional political instability and the danger that that could damage South Africa's chances of hosting the 2006 World Cup. Hosting that event would be a great triumph for South Africa and bring in many resources.
There is the problem of foreign investment. That takes me to the infection--the sadder side of what we have been debating today. The mood of international investors has been severely damaged by what has been going on in Zimbabwe. Foreign investment and open trade are the keys. I agree with the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Bristol that, while aid is well meaning and, if well targeted, can do wonderful things, it is a small consideration compared with the driving force of creation of wealth from open markets, access to the markets of the world and a good and steady flow of foreign investment into the country. We should heed the new doctrines which are beginning to circulate: that the driving force for development in countries like South Africa has to be the creation of local capital. It cannot come from outside aid.
Hernando de Soto, the Peruvian statesman, argues with increasing vigour that the key to wealth generation in these countries is the creation of property rights, and the atmosphere of justice and the rule of law. Local capital can be generated and turned into wealth. Without the property rights and the guarantee that the house you live in is yours--it does not belong to some mafia or gangster and cannot be taken from you--there can be no real take-off, however much is put into these countries. That applies to small businesses. De Soto tells us of the appalling bureaucratic burdens which stand in the way of small businesses. He quotes some amazing figures: that in South Africa and many other southern African countries it takes 63 days to get a small business started, with reams of forms. It is not aid but property, laws and the rule of justice which are the keys to development.
I come now to the agonising business of Zimbabwe, where there is murder afoot, as we have seen. My noble friend Lady Park reminded us that it is not just a question of white settlers and white farmers. It is a hideous assault. Tens of thousands of black farm workers and others are being dispossessed. The stirring up of the internal patterns of Zimbabwean society is designed to turn man against man, woman against woman and family against family in a most appalling way. I find it extraordinary that in recent days there has been a remarkable silence from the Her Majesty's Government in face of the attacks on judges, the undermining of the rule of law, and the systematic encouragement of murder and torture. This cannot be right. I urge Her Majesty's Government to think again about their approach to these issues.
I find it outrageous that the European Union officials saw fit to give official welcome to Mr Mugabe. I agree with The Times leader that the meeting of Commissioner Nielson sent a wrong signal to Harare, Africa and EU leaders. Sure enough, the morning after Harare was claiming that this was a blow to Britain
The noble Lord, Lord Avebury, who has enormous experience of these issues, raised the difficult question about whether dismissal from the Commonwealth would be right at this stage. I had not thought earlier that it would. However, we have now reached the stage where the Commonwealth has to stand up and be counted. There has to be a definite view that Zimbabwe should be pushed out of the Commonwealth unless there is a sign that it will mend its ways. At least that dialogue should be set in motion.
As regards our role, we are always claiming--and I have certainly claimed from this side of the House-- that we are wonderfully placed because we are members of so many international groups such at the IMF, the UN, the European Union, OECD and others. Are not these the forums in which we should be stating the facts now before us? Are not these the forums in which alone we cannot work miracles but we can at least arouse international opinion and co-operation to bring pressure on this man to cease decivilising and wrecking his country? One tries not to feel too strongly on these matters, but we should feel strongly indeed, because we are seeing a hideous tragedy unfold which could poison the whole of South Africa. Ever since I first went to South Africa--
Back to Table of Contents
Lords Hansard Home Page