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South Africa's answer to Chavez?

Thursday, July 25, 2013 - 02:12

July 25 - A radical new political party wants South Africa's mines nationalised and white-owned land distributed. But will Julius Malema's inflammatory brand of left-wing populism topple the ANC? Kirsty Basset reports.

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He's the face of South Africa's newest political movement. Julius Malema is leader of the 'Economic Freedom Fighters', taking sides with the country's disenfranchised. With a soft spot for red berets - his heroes include Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ECONOMIC FREEDOM FIGHTERS LEADER, JULIUS MALEMA, SAYING: "EFF is not calling for blood on the floor. It is calling for a constructive redistribution of resources of this country in a radical way." He says white-owned land should be expropriated - and South Africa's mines nationalised - policy proposals guaranteed to unsettle current and future investors. He used to be part of South Africa's ruling ANC party but was expelled and is facing racketeering charges he denies. Now he's planning to take on President Jacob Zuma and the ANC in next year's election. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ECONOMIC FREEDOM FIGHTERS LEADER, JULIUS MALEMA, SAYING: "Well, yes we are opposed to them, yes, we want them out of power, yes they have failed our people, they have served themselves and their own families and it has to change." With around fifty per cent of South Africa's youth unemployed - Malema seems to be striking a chord. A recent poll found one in four young South Africans would vote for him in an election. But political analysts say it's early days - and he has a lot to prove. Ibrahim Fakir is a manager at the Electoral Institute. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MANAGER AT ELECTORAL INSTITUTE, IBRAHIM FAKIR SAYING: "Mature South Africans including those who continue to be marginalised , I think they will see through the rhetoric, the contradiction, the empty populism, which is not based in the empty radicalism which is not actually based on the real radicalism, it's just a lot of sound and fury with very little practical intent and more importantly practical ability and experience, we haven't seen any ability to administer and execute, organisation or an instrument of government." Other commentators have dismissed the movement as reckless and bitter. Nonetheless, Malema insists that if South Africa's land and wealth aren't redistributed - the people will fight back.

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South Africa's answer to Chavez?

Thursday, July 25, 2013 - 02:12