South Africaâ€™s ANC Youth League president, Julius Malema, has said white people should be treated as â€œcriminalsâ€ for â€œstealingâ€ land from black people.Malema was addressing an enthusiastic crowd in Kimberley yesterday where he appeared on the same platform as President Jacob Zuma.
Reports say Malema was the main attraction as he pulled out all the stops in his campaign for local elections, now just days away.
â€œThey (whites) have turned our land into game farmsâ€¦ The willing-buyer, willing-seller (system) has failed,â€ Malema said.
â€œWe must take the land without paying. They took our land without paying. Once we agree they stole our land, we can agree they are criminals and must be treated as such,â€ he said to cheers from a crowd of about 3 000 people at the Galeshewe stadium, just outside Kimberley.
Although Zuma was billed as the main speaker, it was Malema who stole the show.
As service delivery protests continue across the country, Malema chastised the â€œspoilt bratsâ€ who complained that the ANC had not delivered basic services.
He said protesters were â€œburning tyres in townships on a tar road delivered to them by the ANCâ€.
The youth leader also said he had seen people interviewed on television who said they were not going to vote in the coming election.
â€œBut this person is watering his garden and behind him stands an RDP house â€“ and then he says he doesnâ€™t see delivery. We must never entertain such spoilt brats,â€ he said to more cheers.
Malema also criticised corrupt practices by councillors, such as selling on RDP houses or giving preference to family and friends on housing lists. This went down well with the crowd, which got to its feet and roared with approval when he said: â€œYou shouldnâ€™t have to sleep with a councillor to get an RDP house.â€
â€œPolitical freedom without economic power means nothing. You can vote until you turn yellow, but without economic freedom it means nothing,â€ he added, saying the youth league was not â€œrequesting permissionâ€ to nationalise the countryâ€™s natural assets.
In its recently released economic policy discussion document, the league makes it clear that land, minerals and other key assets should be nationalised, without compensation to current title holders.
The issue will be debated at the ANCâ€™s policy conference next year after the league succeeded on getting it on to the partyâ€™s agenda at its national general council in September last year.
Malema said his calls for nationalisation were â€œnothing newâ€ as the Freedom Charter spelt out the same goals. Former president Nelson Mandela himself had urged the party to strive for economic emancipation once political freedom was attained, according to Malema.
He went on to dish out his customary insults to opposition parties, calling DA leader Helen Zille a â€œdancing monkeyâ€ from â€œmonkey townâ€.
â€œYou allow the madam to kiss your children when you know the madam does not care about your children. They kill our people when they confuse them with baboons. The madam will never be president,â€ he said.
Cope, the PAC and the IFP received similar treatment.
Referring to Copeâ€™s leadership squabbles, Malema joked, â€œYou canâ€™t form a political party when you are angry because the day you smile that party will die â€“ you must then be angry forever.â€
The PAC was a spent force and the IFP was never a political party, but was formed as a â€œcultural organisationâ€, he said.
Malema also came to the defence of Northern Cape ANC provincial chairman John Block, who is facing corruption charges. Block has been implicated in a multi-million rand tender scandal related to the provision of medical oxygen and water purification plants.
People were out to â€œdestroyâ€ Block because he was the face of the ANC in the province, but such attacks were in fact attacks on the â€œintegrityâ€ of the ANC, Malema said.
Malemaâ€™s wooing of the crowd quickly dissipated when Zuma took to the stage, however. People listened intently to what he had to say.
The president urged people not to â€œwasteâ€ their votes on opposition parties and criticised those who planned not to vote as having fallen victim to â€œeffective propagandaâ€.
â€œIf you love yourself and you love your vote, why do you vote for a party that you know is going to lose anyway? What is the logic â€“ to vote to lose?â€ he asked.
Zuma said the ANC was different to other parties, saying it was a â€œmovement of the peopleâ€ first, and a political party second.