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South Africa’s jobless youth march a success: Malema

Unemployed South African youth led by ruling party youth leader Julius Malema on Friday ended a two-day march by handing a petition to government officials calling for land takeover without compensation.

The African National Congress (ANC) youth league has called for an amendment of the Constitution to allow the expropriation of private land without compensation.

“This march raises awareness about deep seated problems of unemployment in our society,” Malema said after handing over a memorandum to a senior government official. “It raises serious issues. The pain endured by young people who are unemployed.”

Among other demands by the youth movement read outside the Union Buildings in Pretoria was the creation of decent jobs and access to the economy.

Malema and his supporters accuse the government of not doing enough to create jobs and fight poverty in a country with 25.7 percent unemployment.

“The march was a success, we conducted ourselves in a disciplined manner and we hope that our grievances would be taken seriously,” he said, adding that 25,000 people took part in the march.

According to the police only 8,000 people gathered in Pretoria.

The march started on Thursday morning, when about 2,000 young people went from the Johannesburg city centre to the Chamber of Mines and then on to the Johannesburg Stock Exchange where they handed over petitions calling for nationalisation of mines.

The ANC has not endorsed Malema’s call for government to take 60 percent stakes in the mines, with some top officials warning the debate is harming efforts to attract investment and create jobs.

Hundreds marched across the night to Pretoria from Johannesburg under heavy police guard before holding a vigil in a sports field.

Malema, who is facing a disciplinary hearing for bringing the ANC into disrepute, said the march was not an attack on government.

“For a long time we have been engaging with government and corporates at different levels, now we have resolved to this,” he said.