Bloomberg News

ANC Youth Won’t Abandon South Africa Mine Grab Push, Malema Says

August 29, 2011

Aug. 29 (Bloomberg) -- The youth wing of South Africa’s ruling party will keep pushing for the seizure of mines and banks, even if disciplinary action taken against its leaders results in their expulsion, Julius Malema, the head of the ANC Youth League, said.

Malema and his top five officials will appear before an African National Congress disciplinary committee this week to face allegations of undermining the party, bringing it into disrepute and disrupting meetings. The youth league wants a “radical” shift in the country’s economic policy, arguing that the country’s black majority still don’t have an adequate stake in the economy 17 years after the end of all-white rule.

“Nationalization will never change, expropriation without compensation will never change,” Malema told a news conference in Johannesburg today. “Whether you expel us or not expel us, these resolutions will never change.”

The move to discipline Malema came after he said that Botswana posed a threat to regional security because of its close ties to the U.S. The ANC described those remarks as a serious transgression that “crossed the political line.” Malema and the youth league have led a campaign to nationalize mines and banks and for the expropriation of land from whites. South Africa is the world’s biggest producer of platinum.

In May last year, Malema admitted to violating party rules by dividing the ANC and “undermining the stature” of President Jacob Zuma. He was forced to apologize, seek anger-management help and agreed to pay a 10,000 rand ($1,416) fine. He was also warned he risked suspension from the party if he committed a similar infraction in the next two years.

Embarrass the ANC

“We reaffirm that these issues are political in nature and they can be resolved politically,” Malema said. “We believe in political engagement. There are political interventions to try and find an intervention that will not embarrass the organization. We have always said the ANC is in charge of our future and if the ANC decides your future as expulsion, you need to accept that.”

The youth league played a key role in helping Zuma take control of the ANC from Thabo Mbeki in 2007. The party is due to hold leadership elections in December next year, and local newspapers have reported that the league will shift its support for Zuma in favor of Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe.

“We have not engaged on succession,” Malema said. “Whatever we are going to pronounce is going to be the order of the day. That you can be guaranteed.”

--Editors: Gordon Bell, Digby Lidstone

To contact the reporters on this story: Jana Marais in Johannesburg at jmarais@bloomberg.net; Mike Cohen in Cape Town Nef at mcohen21@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net


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