Johannesburg - An advertisement making reference to Julius Malema's EFF was not meant to scare people into selling their houses and leaving the country, a property company said on Thursday.
"The reason for putting it there was to poke fun at people who were scared of the 'swart gevaar' [black threat]... and Julius Malema," chief executive of Western Cape property company Vineyards Estates, Anton du Plessis, told Sapa.
"My message to them was 'guys wake up', you better get with the programme."
He said many people living in the areas where Vineyards Estates operated thought the country would go into decline when someone like Malema entered Parliament.
The company's areas of expertise were the affluent areas of Bishop's Court, Newlands, Claremont, Kenilworth, Wynberg, and Rondebosch in Cape Town.
"The angle of the advertisement was if you are thinking of leaving then get hold of me and I will sell your house," Du Plessis said.
The advert had been placed in the property section of the Sunday Times. It had a photo of five men and women dressed in red overalls and red berets and one woman wearing a red cleaner's outfit. All of them look straight ahead and have their arms folded. Du Plessis said it was himself and his staff.
According to a caption accompanying the photo Du Plessis is "commander-in-chief", the title Malema gave himself.
"Emigrating?" is written on top of the advert.
The advert reads: "If you can't see yourself embracing change as we at Vineyards Estates have, you may be needing to sell or let your home now, or perhaps in just under five years’ time... Whatever the timing, speak to the Boutique Southern Suburbs Property Specialists... Vineyards Estates."
In May, when Malema was sworn in as an MP, he and other male Economic Freedom Fighters' MPs shunned the traditional suits for red overalls. They removed their red hard hats before taking the oath. Women EFF MPs, were dressed as cleaners, with headscarves and aprons.
In response to the advert the EFF said it was a trendsetter and people would copy the party.
"You can't help it, the EFF has the capacity and ability to really set off a lot of things that people do in relation to us," spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi told Sapa.
"During the elections the ANC wore red berets and the DA wore blue berets. That is the trend that we set, whether they use it wrongly or rightly - that's what happens when you are in the public eye."
The advert sparked interest on social media website Twitter.
Du Plessis on Thursday said he was not on Twitter and did not know how the advert was circulated on the social networking site.
He said he received many phone calls from people praising the advert.
"My phone didn't stop ringing... I got one complaint," Du Plessis said.
In October, Malema said there would be no true reconciliation in South Africa as whites owned the land.
"You [whites] are more than welcome. This is your country, no one should make you [feel] threatened, but you will be unsettled if you are not ready to heed the call," he told students at the Vaal University of Technology in Vanderbijlpark.
"Let's share the land; let's share the minerals."
Malema referred to the land owned by whites as "stolen property". He said it might have been land which they inherited, but claimed their grandfathers had killed black men for.
Du Plessis said when he first heard Malema was going to Parliament he was nervous.
"The moment I thought Julius Malema was getting into Parliament I thought the country is going to the dogs and then I gave it more thought.
"If we going to stay in this country we need to realise the great divide between rich and poor needs to be adjusted... we need to embrace that," he said.