Fiery re-elected African National Congress (ANC) Youth League president Julius Malema is Mugabecentric.
The loose-tongued and combative youth leader who orchestrated the ouster of former South Africa President Thabo Mbeki in 2009 in favour of incumbent Jacob Zuma, sees things through President Robert Mugabe’s eyes.
He ruffled feathers at a league congress last week when he warned party leaders to either support the youth’s radical policy to expropriate vast tracts of land without compensation from “criminals” who stole it from the black majority and shared among their kith and kin or move out of the ANC.
Malema was quoted in the Daily Dispatch saying: “ANC leaders say we should not say that land was stolen (from blacks), but they are the ones who told us that. When you steal you are a criminal and should be treated as such. . . The real enemy is white capital. They are the ones we are fighting against.
“Those are the ones we want to take from and give to the majority. It’s not racism, but it’s written from the documents of the ANC.”
Malema’s stance has sent shivers down the spines of many white farmers in South Africa, some of whom are reportedly preparing to defend their properties to the hilt, even using arms.
It has also generated intense debate both within and outside South Africa similar to that when President Mugabe and Zanu PF embarked on the fast-track land reform programme in 2000.
President Mugabe’s targets were the minority white commercial farmers who owned three-quarters of Zimbabwe’s arable land at the expense of the disenfranchised blacks dating back to 1890.
Because land possession had been a major area of dispute between whites and blacks and that the willing buyer-willing seller concept had all but collapsed, war veterans were unleashed onto farms where untold violence led to deaths.
In South Africa, Malema, whose bodyguards have since been withdrawn for yet-to-be disclosed reasons, said: “We must intensify (because) this was a filling station. We are going forward and there is nobody who is going to stand in front of this moving train of economic freedom fighters. The leadership of the ANC should lead us. We are asking for radical policy change. We want more action.”
The firebrand youth leader, whose idol is President Mugabe, went on: “We need courageous men and women who have the political will to change the lives of our people . . . When we go to the conference of the ANC, we are not going to talk about personalities, we are going to talk about policy and say: ‘Amongst you . . . who has the potential to carry this forward?’ If you say you are available, you must know you are available to fight capital.”
However, political commentators have warned if South Africa drew a leaf from Zimbabwe’s chaotic methodology, the consequences could be disastrous.