By Anna Garrison
October 14, 2011
KPFA Weekend News broadcast Sept. 5, 2011
KPFA Weekend News Host Anthony Fest: And turning now to Southern Africa, South Africa’s ruling African National Congress stated yesterday that it has adjourned the disciplinary hearing against the African National Congress Youth League president, 30-year-old firebrand Julius Malema, until next Sunday. The ANC has accused Malema of “sowing divisions” within the ANC and bringing the party into disrepute by calling for overthrow of the government of neighboring Botswana.
Many observers note, however, that the ANC’s real issues with Malema are the threat he poses to ANC President Jacob Zuma and his radical advocacy for the nationalization of mines and banks and the seizure of land still largely owned by Africa’s white minority. KPFA’s Ann Garrison has that story.
KPFA/Ann Garrison: Alex Duvall Smith, writing in the London Guardian said that Julius Malema’s call for the overthrow of Botswana is “a limp charge that no one really cares about, but it spares Malema’s enemies from publicly addressing the real issues at the heart of the showdown.” The issues that really scare the ANC, he says, are Malema’s calls for nationalization of the mining sector and confiscation of white-owned land. Here’s Malema speaking to the African National Congress Youth League Conference in June:
Malema: Nationalization of mines is a resolution of this Congress, so perhaps we’ll hear very minimal of Malema’s policy on nationalization, because now it’s not Malema. Five thousand plus, coming from many, many branches all over South Africa.
Nationalization is the policy of the Youth League. We may not agree with the method used in Zimbabwe, but the critical issue is result. Land question.
We want land. Without land we are nothing. Why would this South Africa belong to us when we have nothing to show that this South Africa belongs to us? We need the leadership that is ready to resolve this matter. In 2014, not more than 5 percent will be transferred. What does it mean? It means our economy will still be dominated by the minority.
KPFA: Ayanda Kota, chairperson of South Africa’s Unemployed People’s Movement, wrote in July in the Mail and Guardian that poor South Africans should appreciate Malema’s call in raising the issues of nationalization and the land question and that they cannot continue on the path of the past 17 years, which has made the rich richer and the poor poorer.
But Kota also says that the ANC is not a poor people’s organization. He writes that Malema himself is already a very wealthy man, thanks to corruption within the party, and that nationalizations led by Malema will only lead to more of the same. The movement to claim South African resources for its people must, he says, be led by poor and working people’s organizations.
Maurice Carney, executive director of Friends of the Congo, nevertheless says that Malema, as a resource nationalist, has sounded a call to Congo and the rest of Africa, where revenue is generated primarily through resource extraction, and foreign investors in multinational corporations are the principle beneficiaries.
Maurice Carney: The young ANC youth leader Julius Malema has articulated a need for the resources to be owned by the people. Where we’re going to see the change in terms of breaking with the old order – it’s going to come from the youth of Africa. And Julius Malema is a classic example of that, with his articulation of the need for people to benefit from their own resources.