Thursday, May 05, 2011

African National Congress Youth League Leader Calls for State Control of Land, Mines in South Africa

S.Africa's Malema calls for massive land-grab

Thu May 5, 2011 3:39pm GMT
By Jon Herskovitz

PRETORIA (Reuters) - Influential South African ANC youth leader Julius Malema called for a mass seizure of land and nationalisation of major industries, challenging the ruling party's line and a move likely to alarm investors.

Malema, head of the African National Congress's Youth League, is one of the best-known politicians in the country with ANC leaders using the populist firebrand to whip up support for the party among millions of unemployed youth.

"We should transfer the ownership of the land over to the state," Malema told a news conference on Thursday.

ANC leadership, worried about scaring off foreign investors in Africa's largest economy, have deflected most of Malema's ideas but could find themselves forced to be more receptive if the party fares poorly in local elections on May 18.

Malema has been able to keep the idea of nationalising mines in the resource-rich state on the ANC's policy agenda even though the mining minister has voiced her opposition and economists saying it could cost hundreds of billions of dollars.

Malema's drive for nationalisation of the country's giant mines has unnerved investors in the world's No. 4 gold producer and his militant speeches nearly 17 years after the end of apartheid have scared many white South Africans.

He also called for requiring that minerals be refined in South Africa before going abroad, which could add impetus to the government's costly plans for processing plants and smelters.

"We (shouldn't) allow our minerals as raw as they are to be exported out of the country."

Malema's call for land seizure, which includes caveats to avoid residential areas and to make sure that productive land stays productive, could speed up the government's stalled land reform programmes.

Malema has seen his popularity -- and therefore his influence in the ruling party -- surge after his appearance at a trial where he was accused of hate speech for singing in public the apartheid struggle song "Shoot the Boer (Farmer)".

A polished and confident Malema easily brushed off questions from the prosecution and then spoke to hundreds of supporters waiting outside the Johannesburg court.

The ANC is expected to storm to victory in the May 18 polls for control over all of the country's metropolitan areas and local councils given its dominance over the country's politics.

But any gains by the main opposition Democratic Alliance could undermine President Jacob Zuma and embolden those looking to seize greater control when the ANC holds elections for its leaders next year.

"We cannot sit back," Malema said. "This generation does not require anyone's permission.

Malema calls for land nationalisation

Barry Bateman

ANC Youth League (ANCYL) leader Julius Malema on Thursday said government must own most of South Africa’s land. He said South Africans must lease it, as long as they can provide valid reasons for doing so.

Malema made the announcement in Pretoria. It formed part of the league’s plan for economic freedom.

Mine nationalisation and skills for the youth were also included in what he termed "the seven cardinal pillars for economic emancipation".

The so-called programme of action is a discussion document, scheduled to be tabled at the league’s national conference in June.

Malema said the expropriation of land without compensation will address the crisis caused by the coloniser.

But he said this would not necessarily exclude anyone from using the resource.

“The state should own the land and when you want to utilise the land, you must apply to the state, but you must explain what you’re going to do with that land."

Malema said student exchange programmes would import much-needed skills.

”We take not less than 10,000 young people to countries which have got capacity to give us the skills in areas where we are lacking,” he added.

Meanwhile, Malema also used the opportunity to take aim at Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Helen Zille.

He blamed lazy comrades for allowing Cape Town to slip into opposition control.

Malema said the DA is now concerned.

“The madam is in trouble, she’s panicking because the madam knows that Titanic is sinking for her in Cape Town,” he added.

He was equally confident that the ANC will take the Midvaal.

(Edited by Dennis Georgiannis)

No comments: