Home News S.Africa’s fiery Malema bracing for life outside of ANC

S.Africa’s fiery Malema bracing for life outside of ANC

Published on 10/02/2012

Embattled youth leader Julius Malema said Friday he was preparing for life outside the ruling ANC and possibly in prison, but refused to back down from his call to nationalise South Africa's mines.

An appeals panel of the African National Congress last weekend confirmed Malema’s conviction of fomenting dissent within the party, but he and his deputies are fighting the suspensions slapped against them.

“We are now preparing our lives outside the ANC and possibly in prison. Personally this has been painful period in our lives and our families have been attacked by forces opposed to us,” Malema told the opening of a Youth League meeting.

His comment about prison was a veiled reference to a separate police investigation into accusations he peddled his political influence in possibly corrupt business dealings.

Despite his legal woes, he remained defiant, saying he was only ready to step down if the ANC Youth League votes him out.

“If the youth says we must step down and resign, we are prepared to step down,” he said.

He repeated his call for South Africa to nationalise its rich mines, even though President Jacob Zuma and other top leaders have repeatedly rejected the proposal.

“The people sharing in the country’s wealth should not just be a clarion call, but should be turned into a concrete programme, which includes nationalisation of mines, banks and monopoly industries,” he said.

“Let us go and mobilise structures of the ANC to appreciate the simple truth that we need to move with faster pace and that we need more decisive and sophisticated leadership,” he said.

Malema could take his appeals battle all the way to the ANC’s leadership conference in December in Bloemfontein, where Zuma is seeking another term at the helm of the party, which would essentially guarantee him another term as president.

In a country where the median age is 25, the ANC’s Youth League claims to represent a broad swathe of a nation that would often prefer to ignore the issues of class and race that Malema raises.

South Africa has the world’s biggest gap between rich and poor, largely because of a jobs crisis that hits the youth the hardest. More than half of young South Africans are unemployed.