South Africa Warns Malema Over Expropriation Claims
The South African Government has denounced Julius Malema and his new organization, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), for including total state ownership of land in their manifesto. “There is no way we will allow people to sow discord in our farming communities for party-political gains,” said Tina Joemat-Peterson, Minister of Agriculture. The EFF are meeting this week to construct a party manifesto, with the ‘non-negotiable principles of land expropriation and nationalization of mines, both without compensation’, saying such expropriation was one of its ‘cardinal pillars’.
The party is likely responding to what is felt to be a post-apartheid failure of redistribution. The Black Economic Empowerment scheme has seen only a few percent increase in Black owners of companies listed in the exchange, whilst as of 2006, 70 percent of the land is still owned by whites who make up only 10 percent of the population. Despite Malema’s controversial history, including several charges of criminality and some jail time, a recent poll found that 1 in 4 South Africans between the ages of 18 – 30 would vote for him. Political analyst Dr Somadoda Fikedi said, ‘given our electoral system, even if they get few numbers, they will get a few seats in parliament’. Yet there is no indication that they could genuinely make a challenge to the ANC.