Apr 4, 2010 7:41 AM | By Sunday Times
ANC Youth League President Julius Malema yesterday endorsed Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s economic policies – and threatened to import them to South Africa and to nationalise white-owned farms and mines.
In a fiery speech at a netball complex in Harare’s Mbare township, Malema told a cheering 2000-strong crowd of Zanu-PF youths that, after his visit to Zimbabwe he was going to intensify his campaign for the confiscation of farms and mines in South Africa.
“In SA we are just starting. Here in Zimbabwe you are already very far. The land question has been addressed. We are very happy that today you can account for more than 300000 new farmers against the 4000 who used to dominate agriculture. We hear you are now going straight to the mines. That’s what we are going to be doing in South Africa,” Malema said amid cheers.
“We want the mines. They have been exploiting our minerals for a long time. Now it’s our turn to also enjoy from these minerals. They are so bright, they are colourful, we refer to them as white people, maybe their colour came as a result of exploiting our minerals and perhaps if some of us can get opportunities in these minerals we can develop some nice colour like them.”
Only five months ago, Malema said Mugabe should go – but yesterday he endorsed the Zimbabwean ruler, whose government has killed thousands of those opposed to Zanu-PF rule and overseen the destruction of the economy through land seizures.
Malema meets Mugabe tomorrow for talks before returning home. Today, he will visit farms and mines in a move calculated to fuel his campaign for nationalisation in South Africa.
Malema – who was introduced at the rally as a “young revolutionary icon” – said Mugabe was a hero in the mould of former Cuban leader Fidel Castro and his successor, brother Raul, because he was “not afraid of imperialists”.
He also paid tribute to South African President Jacob Zuma, former president Nelson Mandela and Mandela’s former wife Winnie – while lambasting Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, whom he described as an ally of “imperialists”.
The youth league leader’s attack on Tsvangirai could compromise Zuma’s mediation efforts in continuing talks between Mugabe and Tsvangirai on a unity government.
“We salute President Mugabe for standing firm against imperialists. The reason why they want him to go is because he has started attending to real issues,” Malema said.
“To them he can stay in power for 100 years as long as he doesn’t talk about the economy and addressing real issues.”
In November, Malema said Mugabe must go. “He must step down – we need a new president in Zim,” he said at the time.
“Zanu-PF is not the problem, the problem is the old man who is refusing to leave power,” Malema said.
“And I don’t know why the youth of that country are not taking him on.”
However, yesterday Malema said that Mugabe was a hero.
He said Mugabe and Zuma, together with the ANC and Zanu-PF, had fought in the “trenches’ together against colonial regimes and shared a common history with Swapo in Namibia, Frelimo in Mozambique and the MPLA in Angola.
He claimed western countries wanted to destroy Zanu-PF – and then deal with the ANC and other liberation movements to put surrogate parties in power, in order to retain control of resources.
Shifting attention to his homeland, Malema said SA was in desperate need of across-the-board transformation and fundamental reform, because the economy and even the judiciary and media were still “white-controlled”.
He said “white males” were dominating those areas and were even banning the “singing of liberation struggle songs”.
That, he said, showed democracy was too qualified in South Africa.
Malema said the ANC would not stop singing the “ayesab’amagwala, dubul’ ibhunu” (Shoot the Boer) song, despite a court ruling against it and were prepared to go to jail for it.
“The judiciary is still controlled by white males who are refusing to change.
“The economy is still controlled by white males who are refusing to change and the media is also still controlled by white males who are refusing to change,” Malema said.
“We can no longer sing liberation songs in South Africa because we will be arrested for undermining the courts. Now we have to go to Zimbabwe, Mozambique and other countries, like we did during exile days, to sing liberation struggle songs.”
“We will never retreat. If it means singing this song leads straight into jail, we are prepared to go there. They can never tell which song we must sing!”
Yesterday morning Malema visited Zimbabwe’s North Korean-built Heroes Acre, a burial ground for liberation struggle fighters, and a bombed house in Avondale suburb where ANC exiles lived.
He denounced political violence and claimed Zanu-PF would win free and fair elections if they were held in Zimbabwe.
He said Zimbabwe must defy sanctions like Cuba and “stand firm”.
He then launched a withering attack on the media, saying they could write what they wanted, and that he did not care. He said Zanu-PF youths should not care about what the media said.
“You, the youths of Zanu-PF, must defend the gains of the revolution. You must be focused. You must be militant, radical and resolute,” Malema said.
“We don’t care about what the imperialist media write. They can write what they want.
“We are not products of the media, but of the struggle.
“So let them write what they want to write. We don’t need a London newspaper to tell us who Mugabe is,” said Malema.
“We don’t need the so-called independent media to tell us who Zuma is. We know them.”
Malema chanted Mugabe’s and Zuma’s names repeatedly during his rousing address, and closed by singing Dubul’ ibhunu and Awuleth’ umshini wami, to hysterical cheers.