(FinalCall.com) – Controversy over Julius Malema, the African National Congress Youth League leader, and the recent killing of the White supremacist African Resistance Movement creator Eugene Terre’Blanche may be the spark that ignites dissatisfaction over the limited gains received by Blacks in post apartheid South Africa.
First Terre’Blanche was a White racist Afrikaner whose viciousness and brutality in the killing of unarmed Black South Africans came to light under the country’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission proceedings. He confessed and walked away a free man.
Malema has received much scrutiny in the South African and British press lately for, among other things, calling for the nationalization of South Africa’s mining industry, over singing a now court-banned song that includes the lyrics “shoot the Boer (a name for White settlers and farmers),” traveling to Zimbabwe and being met at the airport by 500 Zanu-PF youth members singing the above song, and being received on the tarmac by Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe.
The AWB, or what is left of it, initially vowed to avenge Terre’Blanche. They later somewhat toned down their call for revenge. But, according to South African news reports, “fear of growing racial tension and polarization grew as condolences streamed in.”The AWB general-secretary blamed Malema and during a phone interview, told a South Africa news outlet to expect “revenge.” “We are going to finish with funeral arrangements and thereafter have a summit conference on May 1 in Pretoria, where all our leaders and members of AWB will come together and decide on what actions we will take to revenge Terre’Blanche’s death,” said the AWB leader, who charged the song, “Shoot the Boer” sung by Malema as directly responsible for the killing, according to News24.com.
“There were mixed reactions from political parties,” reported News24.com. The Azanian People’s Organization (Azapo) that said Terre’Blanche died in similar manner to how he murdered Blacks. “We are sad that Mr. Terre’Blanche died in the manner in which he died, murdered in cold blood. Sadly, this is how he killed Black defenseless farm workers in Venterdorp,” said the group.
Afrikaner author and political commentator Dr. Dan Roodt accused the ANC youth wing of creating “a climate of hatred towards Afrikaners” which, said News24.com, could lead to “anarchy (and) Zimbabwean-style land invasions.” In addition, Dr. Roodt said South Africa is at a crossroads and appealed to the international community, including the European Union, U.S. and the United Nations, to intervene and stop a potential blood bath in South Africa.
But all of this talk of a blood bath fails to include how in post-apartheid South Africa the economy, including 87 percent of the productive farmland, continues to be in the hands of Whites. So Terre’Blance might be the spark that lights the fuse, but this powder keg of the unmet needs of Black South Africans has been simmering for some time.
Then there is the land question, and all the ink being abused to discuss White fear of Black takeover of the economy. This question prompted then-President Mandela to say in 1997: “Their task is to spread messages about an impending economic collapse, escalating corruption in the public service, rampant and uncontrollable crime, a massive loss of skills through White emigration and mass demoralization among the people … because they are White and therefore threatened by the ANC and its policies which favor Black people.”
In addition, some current public discussion appear to be geared toward masking “racist narratives” and a tendency to portray Black wealth as something to be regarded with suspension, said Black Management Forum deputy president Tembakazi Mnyaka.This is based on “lifestyle audits” proposed to examine wealth, and in particular investigate Blacks that have obtained wealth since the end of White minority rule. These calls for “lifestyle audits” are a “smokescreen,” and Mnyaka says, “the purveyors of this narrative seek to silence the emerging Black economic elite and middle class, lest they are blackmailed by the now exposed banner that says: Blacks cannot be wealthy.”
Mnyaka believes those that support calls for lifestyle audits “manipulate” and “de-historize the context.” “We are made to question whether apartheid and its attendant policies that dehumanized blacks and created the most unequal society in the world really happened: and if the conclusion is that it did, we are made to feel guilty about correcting its wrongs,” he said.
This narrative includes post-apartheid Backs being made to feel guilty for desiring ownership of productive that is largely in the hands of White South Africans.
President Jacob Zuma has promised to overhaul the government’s land reform program, and a government minister said land reform is “one of the most visible legacies of apartheid that has failed.”
Land distribution program to date, according to land reform minister Gugile Nkwinti,has not been “sustainable and has not provided the anticipated benefits to the recipients.”
In addition, Nkwinti says, of the 15 million acres that has been distributed, most of which is non-productive land, and “has been transferred through restitution and redistribution … and has not created any economic benefit for many of the new owners.”
Failure at the redistribution of land stolen by Whites under the 1913 Natives Land Act, called “the original political sin” by many, remains a major problem. At market prices, repurchasing one-third of that land and resettling Black farmers by 2014 would cost about $9.6 billion–making it all but out of the question.
So maybe, Malema “is in fact the most appropriate leader,” according to South Africa’s Politicsweb, “for the moment.” Since he is unlike “the passive (Bantustan leaders) to the apologetic (liberal reformists like Desmond Tutu and Memphela Ramphela), the time has come for an explosive and radical character who will advocate for social equality without compromise,” noted Politicsweb.
The Youth League leader hits a nerve with his willingness to speak his mind regardless of the consequences. His criticism of the Zuma administration for under-resourcing of the National Youth Development Agency, when President Zuma said he would support the agency during a State of the Nation speech, is an example of why he has mass appeal among Blacks and why Whites fear his leadership.
And then there was his recent trip to Zimbabwe and his call for the nationalization of South Africa’s mines. “We hear you are going straight for the mines,” he said during a rally in Harare organized by the youth component of the Zanu-PF, “That is what we are going to do in South Africa. “They have exploited our minerals for a very long time. We want the mines, now it’s our turn,” he said.
The Sunday Times reported in March, “Zimbabwe last month put in operation a law that requires foreign companies valued at over 500,000 U.S. dollars to divest 51 percent of shares to non-White locals within five years.”
Malema apparently is taking his show on the road.In a tour designed to look at “nationalization programs,” the ANC Youth League leader was to visit Brazil, China, Chile, Cuba and Venezuela.
But of all the things Malema has been criticized for in the South African press, it is the media coverage of the “shoot the Boer” song and attempts to connect the song to the Terre’Blance killing that has received the most publicity. Malema’s singing of the song in March, according to published reports, in front of college students sparked a legal battle in which the ruling ANC challenged “a high court that ruled the lyrics as unconstitutional.” The men accused of killing of Terre’Blanche said the death involved a wage dispute and his threatening of Black workers, not listening to a song.