The controversial youth leader of South Africa's African National Congress has praised Zimbabwe's program for taking over thousands of white-owned farms, and says his country will follow the example. Comments were made at a rally organized by President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party in Zimbabwe.
ANC Youth Wing leader Julius Malema told a few hundred ZANU-PF youth members the South African party would follow Zimbabwe's lead, and soon take over white farms in South Africa.
Speaking Saturday at a small Harare stadium, he said Zimbabwe had led the "fight over land" and encouraged Zimbabweans to also take over white and foreign-owned companies.
Mulema was in Zimbabwe at the invitation of ZANU-PF Indigenization Minister Saviour Kasukuwere, who has decreed that black Zimbabweans must own 51 percent of all Zimbabwean companies.
Regulations to support the indigenous legislation were published earlier this year, but Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) trade and industry legislator Welshman Ncube said they had not gone through due parliamentary process and must be re-done.
Malema said people must "embrace indigenization."
He said ZANU-PF and the ANC "fought together in the trenches" for liberation and must continue to fight against what he called Western imperialism.
Malema said he would not be meeting the MDC, the other main partner in the power-sharing government that won the 2008 elections. He said this was because it had not taken part in the 1970s anti-colonial war. The Movement for Democratic Change was formed in 1999.
ZANU-PF accuses the MDC of being a product of Western imperialism.
Malema seized on this theme at the rally.
"We are aware of the imperialists and, in particular, of the West giving them money to take liberation movements out of power," he said. "They are doing that with the ANC in South Africa. They are doing that with all progressive forces in Africa. You are not alone. Your struggle is our struggle."
Malema surprised some ZANU-PF members when he told them not to engage in violence during elections. Hundreds of MDC supporters have been killed and tens of thousands injured since the MDC fought its first election in 2000.
"This rumor that you are using violence in Zimbabwe, is going to make ZANU [PF] lose elections," he added. "You must engage ideologically. This is an ideological warfare. We must be prepared to change the minds of our people and educate them to understand where do we want to take this country to, not through violence."
Malema told ZANU-PF youth members he would continue singing the ANC struggle song, "Kill the Boer," or the white farmer, even if it meant being sent to jail. A South African court last week banned the controversial song.
He sang the song at the rally and a few ZANU-PF members struggled to sing along in Malema's Zulu home language.