The leader of South Africa’s second largest opposition party called the Economic Freedom Fighters, Julius Malema, has clashed with Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini, for “intimidating” people who are calling for the “expropriation of land without compensation” in the country, press reports have said.Addressing a media conference‚ Malema said South Africa was a democracy and his party had a right to disagree with Zwelithini, according to the Sowetan newspaper on Friday.
“Let us not talk war. Let us not beat war drums here. Let us come up with superior argument on why it should not be done like that‚” Malema said, adding that democracy meant that citizens must never fear anything concerning their welfare.
“There are no holy cows in this country. We must debate issues openly‚ including disagreeing with the Zulu king. The Zulu king must call for engagement with regards to the land. He must be respected‚ he must not be feared. I don’t fear anyone. Nobody! I only fear God‚” he declared.
Malema was referring to Zwelithini’s statements that Zulu warriors were ready to defend their land. This was in reaction to a proposal by a high-level panel chaired by former president Kgalema Motlanthe, which found that the Ingonyama Trust Act was unconstitutional and should be repealed.
The monarch also called for every member of the Zulu nation to contribute 50 US cents to be used in a potential court case to prevent the repeal from happening.
This comes in the wake of the successful EFF-led motion in parliament on expropriation of land without compensation.
Interested parties now have a chance to submit their views and make proposals on the motion‚ which seeks to amend Section 25 of the Constitution which deals with land expropriation.
“We have never promised war to the Zulu kingdom. We have never promised war to the Afrikaners. We have never promised war to the whites. We have called for engagement.
“So why should the response be: ‘Leave what you are doing, otherwise you will meet the unexpected?’ What type of language is this in a democratic South Africa?” Malema said of the king’s rhetoric.
Malema said the debate was not about war, but about how to get people‚ including the Zulus‚ Vendas and Xhosas ethnic groups to benefit from their land.
“There is no army which will go against the Zulu people‚ no army at all. There is no police which will go against the Zulu people. The Zulu king must be aware that anything else that seeks to put blacks against blacks will just lead to black-on-black violence. That’s what they are calling on‚” he said.
Malema‚ however‚ said the EFF was open to meeting with “sensible and interested parties”, while the parliamentary process was ongoing.
“We are particularly willing to meet and engage with King Goodwill Zwelithini‚ the Ingonyama Trust, and all traditional leadership establishments and bodies that have interest in the constitutional and policy issues that relate to land ownership‚ control and redistribution‚” he said.
Malema added that there was a counter-movement forming in the country around the land expropriation without compensation resolution adopted by parliament.
“This movement brings together right-wing formations like the FF Plus‚ AfriForum and liberal market-friendly formations like the opposition Democratic Alliance and Congress of the People parties. Behind this movement is the South African media‚ which has taken sides against the popular democratic decision” of land expropriation without compensation, he continued.
White farmers should realise that putting their farms on a mortgage was not going to help them, Malema said.
“The banks must also not participate in undermining land reforms. The quickest way to get into a workable solution is to help facilitate equitable distribution of the land for all South Africans — black and white‚” Malema added.