Malema: Unity is only possible through property ownership

The EFF leader said the mindset of black people towards white people must be changed through empowerment.

The Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema has told the American Chamber of Commerce that South Africa can never achieve unity if property ownership is not addressed.

Malema attended a breakfast briefing with foreign investors.

The event has hosted several other political figures to gauge their views of the US and its attitude towards foreign policy and trade.

He says the refusal to expropriate land back to the majority of citizens without compensation is at the heart of South Africa's misfortunes.

"The dispossession of land is at the centre of South Africa's contradictions. And cemented by that, it was racial policies which denied black people from owning the land. Willing buyers, willing sellers, black people cannot buy [land] even if we give them money, the white farmers don't want to sell their land and there's nothing you can do."

Malema said the mindset of black people towards white people must be changed through empowerment.

"You'll never be confident if you do not have ownership. Whites have ownership, black people don't. Your survival depends on the selling of your labour to white people."

The EFF leader received a lacklustre reception during his address, which the chamber described as robust yet concerning.

The chamber says while the EFF leader can be very charismatic, it's concerned that his party's ideology threatens the principals of the Constitution.

Malema also told investors who do not approve of the EFF's expropriation without compensation policy to present an alternative, instead of threatening to leave the country.

Amcham introduced Malema as a true and interesting voice of South Africa.

"The devil is in the detail. What's laudable is upholding the judiciary but then on the other hand is the expropriation of land without compensation."

Director Carol O'Brein says his speech was both charismatic and concerning.

"Our grandfather Nelson Mandela taught us to listen, so we are listening. But we are not going to listen to spoilt brats. Everytime you speak to them [they say] 'I'm taking my things, I'm going'. What type of an attitude is this?"

He also told business people to pay for thousands of South Africans to study the best universities in the world as this will address the skills and education gap between race groups.