Don’t fear Malema, Zuma tells SA farmers

The nationalisation of mines and farmland is not ANC policy – despite what ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema says, according to President Jacob Zuma.

Speaking with less than a week to go before the local government elections, Zuma tried to downplay Malema’s oft-repeated statements that the youth league would force nationalisation to be implemented.

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Zuma said no one in the youth organisation could determine policies.

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“You cannot be scared by someone who has only put his hands on the Freedom Charter … you cannot be emotional about what Malema says. Even when he (Malema) spoke about the land issue, he remembered about the constitution. He changed and said the constitution must be changed in order take the land back,” he said.

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Malema was still learning and would surprise people when, some day in the future, he would oppose the views he was advocating now.

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Zuma was replying on Wednesday to white farmers in Greytown, who had expressed concern about Malema’s statements regarding nationalisation and the possible expropriation of farms by the government.

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Addressing Zuma during an ANC breakfast with traditional, business and farm leaders, Pannar Seeds deputy chairman Michael Yeadon said Malema’s statements about nationalisation had created a “scary face of the ANC for farmers”.

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Malema told an ANC rally in Kimberley at the weekend that white people should be treated as “criminals” for “stealing” land from black people.

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He said the willing buyer-willing seller method of land restitution had not worked and called on the government to expropriate farmland from white people.

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This statement, made in Zuma’s presence, prompted the opposition to criticise the ANC president for not rebuking Malema.

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However, Zuma said farmers should not concern themselves with such statements by Malema because nationalisation was not part of ANC policy.

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“We discuss our policies through political structures such as our national policy conference. This is the platform where such matters are discussed. Such policies get consolidated and such processes are guided by documents,” he replied to Yeadon.

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Zuma has previously said that the willing buyer-willing seller model of land distribution has not worked and that new methods to speed up the process of giving land to blacks were needed.

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He made clear then that this would have to happen within the ambit of the law and that there would be no Zimbabwe-style land invasions in South Africa.

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On Wednesday night, ANC Youth League spokesman Floyd Shivambu said the league would not respond to Zuma’s comments. He said, however, that the ANC had ordered an investigation into the nationalisation issue and that the party’s national executive committee had noted at its national general council in Durban last year that there was greater consensus on the issue within the party.

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Shivambu said the league was not concerned with the worries expressed by farmers over Malema’s statements.

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“It is typical of the people who have stolen land and we are not shocked at all that they would react like that,” he said.

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Malema has previously been disciplined by the ANC for contradicting the government’s position on Zimbabwe.

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Zuma spoke strongly about indiscipline in the ANC at the national general council last September, saying the youth league was part of the ANC, implying that the league should toe the party line.

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Zuma’s visit to Greytown came on the last leg of his campaigning for the local government elections.

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He also visited the nearby IFP strongholds of Mzinyathi and Msinga, telling people they should not vote for other parties simply because they did not want a one-party state.

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“You should not just vote to make the opposition strong; the size of the opposition will not make democracy stronger.”

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Zuma acknowledged that Msinga and surrounding areas still faced challenges in the delivery of basic services.

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“I know that your leaders have struggled in delivering services. The ANC will change that. I also heard that there is no school in Pomeroy. I promise to come back and sort out that matter after the elections,” he said. – The Mercury