‘Join us or else,’ Malema tells ANC

2011-06-20 07:58

ANC youth leader Julius Malema’s message to the mother body was clear yesterday – move with the youth, or move out.

His closing address to the African National Congress Youth League conference in Johannesburg contained thinly veiled warnings to ruling party leaders, militant talk about land invasion and angry demands for better youth league representation in party ranks.

In a speech that went on for longer than an hour, Malema again vowed to take land and mines, and told “leaders” of the ANC that they needed to join the revolution of the “economic freedom fighters” – or else.

“We want a radical policy shift, we need courageous men and women to lead our people,” said Malema, throwing open the succession debate ahead of the ANC’s next elective conference in 2012.

In an address with many references to “white monopoly capital”, he warned: “There’s nobody who is going to stand before us. Nobody is going to stand before this moving tree of economic freedom fighters.

“They want to change the material conditions of South Africa and they are not asking for permission.”

And if the “leadership of the ANC” did “not join us” then the masses would take over.

“If you are not careful, you will be led by the masses,” said Malema.

“The ANC must lead the people. The ANC must lead with the people. We are asking for leadership.

“We don’t want to remove anybody. We don’t want to remove you.”

But, he said, it was the youth league’s task to hold ruling party leaders to task.

“We must be able to talk about our leaders on whether they are adhering to the mandate, and that does not mean we are passing a motion of no confidence against the sitting leadership.”

He said the discussion about leadership was to make the leadership aware of their mistakes.

“We must not be technical about our leaders. We need to be honest about them. Once you suppress that, the leaders will find that they have left the people behind – exactly what happened in Polokwane.”

He said the youth wanted to reclaim their land and they needed leadership.

In the absence of the leadership, they would do it themselves.

“There is no way comrade leadership, there is no way you can be diplomatic about the issue of land.”

Malema said the ANC resolved in Polokwane that the willing seller, willing buyer system was not working to redistribute land.

But the ANC had failed so far to find an alternative.

“We are giving you an alternative, expropriation of the land without compensation.”

On the nationalisation of mines, he said the newly elected leadership of the youth league would rather be expelled from the ANC than compromise themselves on that demand.

“We are carrying your mandate and we will protect the policy on the nationalisation of mines. We will rather be expelled protecting it.”

He angrily warned that those within the ANC who wanted him out of his position, would not succeed.

Malema said Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal youth league members were told not to vote for him.

The latter refused R2 000 bribes while some Mpumalanga officials put their jobs on the line by supporting Malema, he said.

Malema called for 50% youth representation in the ruling party – “If the ANC has got two delegates, one must be young”.

The same rule should be applied during the election of leaders, said Malema, who has been pushing for his predecessor, Fikile Mbalula, to replace ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe.

At the end of his speech, he thanked those who had supported him – specifically mentioning ANC treasurer general Mathews Phosa.

He also gave a long thank-you message to Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, who was welcomed yesterday by delegates singing, “Motlanthe, my president”.

Motlanthe, in his address, agreed that land reform was happening too slowly, but warned that any debate around it should happen within a “constitutional framework”.

The Freedom Front Plus, meanwhile, called on farmers to “safeguard” themselves, in reaction to Malema’s vow to “take the land without payment”.

Back at the conference venue at Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand, Johannesburg, delegates were getting ready to celebrate through the night after being told by Malema: “Now you have to party.”

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