African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) President Julius Malema has urged hundreds of Bantu Bonke township residents in Vereeniging, not to vacate the mineral rich land they occupy should anyone want them to move.
“We heard Anglo [mining company] wants you to move … they said there’s alternative land because they have discovered a mineral,” Malema told the community in a packed hall on Sunday.
He said they had the right to continue living on their land and be party to mining and agricultural activity.
“Even the houses they want to give you are not proper houses. The land must be given to the people … people have been killed for this land.”
AfriForum has laid a criminal charge of incitement to sedition against Malema after he told people in Thembelihle in Lenasia, south of Johannesburg, last week to forcefully occupy land.
Malema’s visits are a way of drumming up support ahead of the league’s “economic freedom” mass march expected to take place on Thursday and Friday. The league will target the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) in Sandton, the Chamber of Mines in Johannesburg and the Union Buildings in Pretoria.
Malema said government must return the land owned by white farmers back to its people.
“They [whites] found us here. They did not bring any land nor did they bring any minerals.”
Malema left soon after his address in convoy.
So far, Malema has visited Thembelihle, Diepsloot and Ivory Park to mobilise support for the march. His message constantly stressed the fight for economic emancipation and ensuring that communities benefited from democracy.
‘Reckless and irresponsible’
ANCYL leaders are “reckless and irresponsible” with their provoking utterances on nationalisation of land and the mines, Freedom Front Plus leader Pieter Mulder said on Sunday.
Mulder’s comments, while not mentioning Malema by name, came in the wake of his visit to Diepsloot residents on Saturday.
Mulder, who is also the deputy minister of agriculture, forestry and fisheries, said in a statement that it was relevant that South Africa had only been ninth on the list of foreign investment for Africa last year.
He said this was an alarming trend and placed added strain on South Africa’s growth rate.
“It must be accepted that such political statements played an important role in reduced investment,” he said, referring to a statement he made in his capacity as deputy minister at a citrus farming function in Polokwane.
In that statement, he said that during 2010 Angola had drawn foreign investment valued at R79.7-billion compared with R12.7-billion for South Africa.
“In the past it was South Africa that attracted most foreign investment,” he said.
Mulder also referred to the current labour dispute between government and Walmart and said the matter conveyed the wrong message to foreign investors, causing them to canalise their capital to more attractive investment venues.
Malema, who referred to “white monopoly capitalists”, told a gathering of thousands, that the ANCYL would not enjoy freedom as long as there was poverty in the country.
“If you have 1 000 hectares of land, we want 800 hectares of it. And we are not going to pay for it because we haven’t got money,” Rapport newspaper quoted him as saying.
Malema also spoke against those opposing the nationalisation of mines.
He said people were not aware that the nationalisation of the mines would create jobs and fight poverty in Diepsloot and other impoverished areas.
Meanwhile, the Azanian People’s Organisation Youth has called the ANCYL’s upcoming Economic Freedom Youth Mass Action a “big farce”.
“We view the march as nothing but another big farce and part of Malema’s inner circle’s strategy to deflect away from the disciplinary hearing he is facing because of his ‘uncontrolled big mouth’,” Azapo said in a statement.
It said Malema was using legitimate anger felt by poor young people to advance his and his “lackeys” agenda.
“In reality, they have nothing to offer because in a few years time, they will be mobilising the same youth to vote for the ANC, which is the main source of the problem.”
There was also no amount of marching that would bring any meaningful economic freedom to the youth.
“Youth economic freedom can only be realised when young people in their millions take a bold step and vote for a credible alternative and not these ‘matshingelanis’ of the white capital.”
Azapo urged the youth to stay away from the marches.
Instead, they should concentrate on studying for the end of year exams. — Sapa