Julius Malema, the ambitious, firebrand leader of the South African ruling party’s youth wing, Thursday called for the nationalization of mines and seizure of land without compensation–policies the government has repeatedly ruled out in the past.
Speaking at the African National Congress Youth League’s electoral conference, Malema said the youth league had put nationalization and land seizures on the agenda. He has also pushed bank nationalization in the past.
Malema, flanked by President Jacob Zuma, said past efforts to redistribute resources from the white minority to the black majority had failed dismally.
“The struggle for land reform and transfer of land is long overdue and should be speeded up to avoid the conflicts that characterize many post-independence African states,” he said. “We refuse to continue living like we are in a colony. The only solution available to us now is expropriation without compensation.
Malema attacked critics who described him as reckless.
“What is reckless about calling for changing property relations to favor the working class and the poor?” he said. “We should be the voice of farmworkers, of garbage carriers, of street sweepers, of manufacturing workers, of the unemployed reserves of workers. We should be the voice of all people in informal settlements and underdeveloped areas.”