Land occupation is not a crime but the right thing to do, EFF leader Julius Malema said at a rally on land expropriation in Thembalethu, George, on Friday.
"When we say occupy the land, we don't say do an illegal thing. It is a right thing to do because it is your land. How do you say we are wrong by asking people to go and occupy what belongs to them?" he said to cheers from the crowd.
"The land belongs to you. You must continue to occupy it. And never get tired because the DA is in power here in George. They shoot at people who are occupying the land; they arrest them. Never get tired. They will get tired and you will get the land."
He advised the masses on how to outlast the police.
"Don't go with expensive material. Just take old material when you go to occupy the land. When the police come to take the material, say: 'You can take it, I am coming back tomorrow.' They will end up being tired."
He told a sea of supporters that the majority of black residential areas were established through "so-called illegal occupation".
A matter of dignity
He questioned the appropriateness of the Garden Route city's name.
"It must be changed so that we have a proper name which is reflective of African people.
"If you had the land... you would not be here at this rally. You would be working your land – producing, feeding yourself and feeding nations of the world out of your sweat and hard work.
"There is no person with land who is unemployed, or wants an RDP house. Because you have the land, you work on it, you build yourself a beautiful house which will accommodate all of our many children... so that they can have their dignity back."
Malema said a land audit showed that 72% of land was owned by the white minority, 15% by coloured people, 5% by the Indian community and 4% by Africans, who make up the majority in South Africa.
"We must change [it so] that 72% must be Africans, and then 15% can remain coloured, 5% Indians and 4% white. There's no problem, because the land ownership must be a reflection of the demographics of SA. The majority must own the bigger portion of the land, then there will be peace in SA."
'Africa is a country'
He described colonialist Jan van Riebeeck as a convicted criminal and immoral man sent on a mission to conquer southern Africa.
"Their claim was that the Khoi and the San did not have title deeds and therefore SA was no man's land. A title deed is not our thing; it's a thing of Europeans. And therefore our ownership of the land cannot be judged on the basis of what is a requirement of European law.
"Our problems started with the land dispossession. If they had not taken our land, but asked to settle with us, we would have accommodated them, the same way the Khoi and the San accommodated Africans because we found the Khoi and the San here.
"Those are the indigenous people of SA. We didn't come and conquer them. We settled with them because we were all Africans."
He said African borders were artificial and "imposed on us by colonisers who went into some conference and decided to divide Africa among themselves".
"Today we want to worship the borders. We call people makwerekwere (a derogatory term for foreign nationals), Zimbabweans, Mashangane because we were told by our colonisers that we must not love one another, we must kill each other because this one come from that border. Those are not our borders. They are the borders of the colonisers."
Africa is not a continent per se, Malema insisted, but a country.
"We are one big family called Africa. They divided us because they know the unity of Africans is a threat to Europeans. But the day we are united, all this suffering will come to an end, because the unity of Africa means land in the hands of the Africans. The unity of Africa means the mines, the banks, in the hands of Africans. Every strategic sector of the economy must be in the hands of the people."