Cape Town - South Africa will descend into anarchy unless the state starts expropriating white-owned land without paying compensation, Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema said on Thursday.
"Ours is a struggle to change property ownership in South Africa.... We believe that a progressive, peaceful expropriation of land without compensation will resolve the crisis of land ownership in South Africa," he told the Cape Town Press Club.
"Our people will never arrive at the promised land if we do not resolve the land question, because you are nothing without the land.
"Your land is your identity.... There is no man who can have dignity if that man does not have property," said Malema, who later, without acknowledging any contradiction, told his audience that the EFF fully subscribes to Marxist principles.
He said the dispossession of black landowners was one of the motivations for the formation of the African National Congress, but that the party had lost its way since coming to power 20 years ago.
Its "willing-seller, willing-buyer" land reform policy had proved a failure.
"No one is willing to sell," he said, adding that the ruling party had yet to find an alternative policy.
Malema issued an unambiguous warning that if no political party took up this cause, the landless poor would rise up and seize land.
"There must be an organisation that leads people that are demanding ownership in terms of property, because if there is no leadership that leads our people in demanding these things, our people will lead themselves.
"We will have an unled revolution, an unled revolution is anarchy."
He reiterated that there should be no compensation, because white farmers had not acquired their property by honest means.
"Those who took the land from us did not buy it, [they] actually committed a black genocide. And those blacks who survived were converted from land ownership to slaves, and therefore we should not be seen to be rewarding crime.
Speaking to a mainly affluent white audience at Cape Town's Kelvin Grove Club, he said he was therefore asking his listeners to hand over "some of your property".
However, Malema was quick to assure them that the EFF was committed to honouring former president Nelson Mandela's dearly held vision of multi-racialism, and added: "We want to share the wealth with white people."
"Your safety as people with money is guaranteed by the empowerment of those without money."
He went on to recount that he had deliberately enrolled his son in a mainly white, Afrikaans-speaking school "because I want him to grow [up] with white people and know that these people are human beings and he must not be scared of them".
Malema was scathing of leading figures in the ANC, in particular President Jacob Zuma, whom he portrayed as a paranoid populist with no respect for Parliament, and deserving of ousting.
Reminded of his once-militant support for Zuma, he said he had made a mistake and was trying to correct it through his new party.
"We have since apologised to South Africans for having sold them nothing in the form of President Zuma. It is a terrible mistake and we agree that we have contributed in this mess and that's why we are now contributing in cleaning this mess we've created."
DA spy tape fund
"We are not going to rest until we have removed Zuma as a president... he is not going to have a nice time in the next five years... watch this space," he said to laughter and applause.
Malema, who was wearing his party's trademark red overalls, urged his audience to contribute money to the Democratic Alliance's court application for a review of the decision to drop corruption charges against Zuma in 2009.
He was equally dismissive of Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, saying he "loves money more than people".
Asked where he would be in five years, Malema firmly answered: "In Parliament."
The former ANC Youth League president said he had resolved to see out his days as a farmer after he was expelled from the ruling party, but felt compelled to return to politics after police shot dead 34 miners at Marikana two years ago.
"I had taken a decision to leave, but my conscience would not allow it."