South Africa’s ruling African National Congress has blamed Zimbabwean leader, President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party for exporting violence through its inflammatory speeches that have been blindly adopted by its (ANC) youth league.
ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe, who is on a visit to Harare, accused Zanu-PF of influencing the thinking and actions of its controversial national youth league president, Julius Malema.
The firebrand Malema has long declared economic war on whites and his calls for the nationalisation of mines have unnerved investors in Africa’s biggest economy.
Mantashe said the youth wing’s inflammatory rhetoric is similar to that of Mugabe’s party.
The ANC secretary was addressing senior Zanu PF members, Acting President, John Landa Nkomo, Vice President, Joice Mujuru, secretary for administration, Didymus Mutasa and national chairman, Simon Khaya Moyo at a meeting on Wednesday.
After the meeting Mutasa attempted to absolve his party.
“They blamed us saying Malema speaks like you and thinks like you,” Mutasa said. “We told them that we are not influencing him. If he speaks like Zanu-PF, that is the way he likes to speak, we cannot change him.”
However, Mantashe said South Africa “would not advocate for empowerment programmes, which hurt the economy” as they have potential of driving off investors.
Investors keen on doing business in Zimbabwe are sceptical due to a Zanu PF backed black empowerment plan that should see foreign firms ceding 51 percent of ownership to locals.
Mantashe said when the youth league raised the empowerment issue it was agreed to first embark on research in other countries that have done the same programme.
That would give them direction on how to draw up policies to avoid a haphazard route, a thinly veiled attack of Zanu PF, which conducted a much condemned land reform programme, which is blamed for the downturn in agricultural output.
But Malema, who occasionally hobnobs with Zanu PF and has publicly supported Mugabe’s economic reforms, wants to fast track nationalisation, Mantashe said.
Last year Malema visited Zimbabwe and had a private meeting with Mugabe where he praised Zanu-PF’s controversial land redistribution and mining policies.
Malema was charged with bringing the ANC into disrepute because of statements he uttered while in Zimbabwe and now he is in the dock for calling for regime change in neighbouring Botswana, an accusation that may result in him being expelled from the party.
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