“The land is everything.”
This was Economic Freedom Fighter Julius Malema’s unequivocal message to the South African Property Owners Association when he addressed the conference under the theme “disruption” at the Cape Town International Conference Centre on Wednesday.
In a no-holds-barred speech, Malema scolded the property owners for not doing enough to change property ownership patterns post-apartheid, but also encouraged them to join the fight against corruption.
Taking his stand behind the podium in chinos and a blazer rather instead of his infamous red overalls, Malema said he was surprised to be invited to the event.
“Sitting here today are the beneficiaries of a crime against humanity,” he said after he tied the current property ownership patterns to apartheid.
He said the same people are also the greatest beneficiaries post-apartheid and that profits and greed were placed above reconciliation.
He said the country is heading towards failure, and property owners should shoulder some of the blame as they often scupper government policies aimed to alleviate poverty. “Your riches made you self-centred.”
“If there is a disruption we need today, it is your neoliberal short-sightedness.”
He said there are many pieces of unused land. “Without a disruption, they are unwilling to share the land.”
“Our fellow patriotic white people must stop being oversensitive.”
He said the ANC and DA won’t be able to help them because they still believe neo-liberalism can be saved. He said the 1913 Native Land Act is still manifested.
“When the EFF take over, we will ensure the state owns all the land.” “The land belongs to all South Africans.”
He said anyone who believed otherwise is blind to black suffering.
“The state must be the custodian of the land. Why? Because you are refusing to release the land.”
“The struggle has always been about property ownership.”
‘The beginning and the end of South Africa’
The only real applause Malema solicited from the white, male-dominated audience was when he said they are not even supporting the EFF’s fight against corruption financially.
He said South Africa’s economy has been relegated to junk status and we are entering a recessing.
“If the criminal syndicate is not removed, we will enter a permanent depression.”
He said the private sector is also involved with corruption with the “gangster regime” and he wants South Africans to unite against corruption.
“You have all the money… yet you don’t use your money to fight corruption.”
An audience member asked Malema about the possibility of a coalition government.
“Democracy has already proved that a coalition can work,” he said, citing the examples of Johannesburg, Tshwane and Port Elizabeth.
He said that for the EFF their potential coalition partners’ policy on land is non-negotiable.
“We stay outside the coalition, but give our support as long as it keeps the gangster away from the purse,” he said.
“The gangster and the purse don’t go together. Very dangerous.”
He again underlined the importance of land.
“The land is everything. Without the land, it is a Mickey Mouse arrangement. The land is the beginning and the end of South Africa.”