Leader of South Africa’s opposition Economic Freedom Fighters party said Saturday that his party will expropriate privately-owned land without compensation in all municipalities that the party were to win elections.
Addressing thousands of supporters in Johannesburg during his leftist party’s manifesto launch for the upcoming local government elections, Julius Malema said: “We are not chasing away whites [from South Africa], we are saying they can’t own 80 percent of land.”
Land is a highly contentious subject in South Africa, a country where huge chucks of land are still owned by minority whites, while the majority of blacks remain landless.
Malema said the land they will expropriate will be re-distributed to the poor and will not be used to enrich party leaders.
South Africa will hold municipal elections on Aug. 3. This is the first time EFF will contest in municipal elections since it was founded in 2013.
EFF, which broke away from the ruling African National Congress, is the third largest political party in the country.
It contested in the national elections in 2015 and won more than one million votes, giving it 25 seats in the 400 member National Assembly.
The party has been vocal in parliament, challenging President Jacob Zuma several times to pay back millions of public monies used to upgrade his private home in his rural Nkandla village in KwaZulu Natal Province.
Majority of commercial farmers in South Africa are whites.
Chris Van Zyl, assistant general manager of the Transvaal Agricultural Union of South Africa, which represents several white commercial farmers in the country, doubted if Malema’s expropriation policy would succeed.
“The population of South Africa depends on food produced by commercial farmers. Where will Malema get the food to feed over 50 million South Africans once he expropriates the land?” Zyl asked in an interview over the phone with Anadolu Agency.
He said before the expropriation of commercial farm land can succeed, Malema needs to think about providing skills to blacks in farming.
The retired military major general said some land which was taken over by the current government from white farmers and given to black farmers has since remained unused.