Malema strikes again

ANC Youth League ­president Julius Malema has attacked De Beers chairperson Nicky Oppenheimer, saying it is up to the ANC “to take from his family what belongs to the people of South Africa”.

Malema was reacting to Oppenheimer’s statement of support for Minerals Minister Susan Shabangu, who said this week that the mines would not be nationalised in her lifetime.

In a fresh assault on Shabangu Malema accused the minister of “sucking up to monopoly capital” while undermining the ANC’s internal debate on nationalisation.

“To show that she has appeased the wrong forces, Nicky Oppenheimer was the first to jump after her pronouncements,” Malema said.

“Who is Nicky Oppenheimer? We don’t respect him. He has never been a leader of our people. Ours is to take from his family what belongs to the people of this country.”

He said it was unfortunate that Shabangu had chosen to enter the nationalisation debate.

“She personalised the whole thing. The reality of the matter is that she may wake up tomorrow not being a minister of minerals.

“Her pronouncement shows that she has committed her own life to capital; capital continues to take care of her. What she is saying is that in her lifetime our economy will never be decolonised. She leads the most untransformed sector in our economy and should know better,” Malema said.

He claimed that Shabangu had earlier said she did not have a problem with nationalisation.

“We are not going to respect someone like that. Leaders earn respect; you don’t get respect in a lucky packet.”

However, Malema rejected suggestions that a low-profile visit to former president Nelson Mandela this week was designed to bolster the league’s campaign for the nationalisation of the mines.

He said the visit was part an ANC effort to keep Mandela abreast of developments in South Africa and the party’s plans to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the unbanning of liberation movements and Mandela’s release from jail.

“Our visit was organisational. We were assigned to go and talk to [Mandela] in relation to what will happen on February 11.”

President Jacob Zuma has chosen February 11, the day Mandela was released from jail in 1990, to deliver his State of the Nation address.

Malema said that although Mandela had retreated on his call for nationalisation in the early 1990s, this did not mean the ANC had abandoned its long-term objective to better the lives of poor South Africans through state ownership of key economic sectors, including mining.

He said the ANC, under Mandela’s leadership, had backed away from nationalisation to build confidence in the ANC-led government.

“People did not believe we had the potential of running the country successfully,” Malema said, adding that such confidence had now been built.

Malema said that senior ANC leaders supported the league’s campaign to nationalise the mines and that nationalisation would become ANC policy in 2012.

Matuma Letsoalo

Matuma Letsoalo

Matuma Letsoalo is the political editor of the Mail & Guardian. He joined the newspaper in 2003 and has won numerous awards since then, including the regional award for Vodacom Journalist of the Year in the economics and finance category in 2015, SA Journalist of the Year in 2011, the Mondi Shanduka SA Story of the Year award in 2008 and CNN African Journalist of the Year – MKO Abiola Print Journalism in 2004. Read more from Matuma Letsoalo

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