Gwede Mantashe, secretary-general of South Africa’s ruling African National Congress, said the party of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is influencing the policies of expelled youth leader, Julius Malema.
Mantashe criticized calls by Malema’s newly-formed political group, called Economic Freedom Fighters, to seize land without compensation.
“Its policies have nothing to do with the Freedom Charter and more to do with influence from” the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front, Mantashe told reporters in Johannesburg today. The Freedom Charter is a 1955 document of core principles on which the ANC was founded.
Malema, 32, was expelled from the ANC for insulting its leaders and calling for the ousting of the government in neighboring Botswana. EFF has praised the state seizure of assets in countries such as Zimbabwe and Venezuela.
Mugabe, 89, has ruled Zimbabwe for 33 years. In 2000, the government seized white-owned farms to distribute to black citizens, slashing agricultural output and causing food and foreign-currency shortages.
Rugare Gumbo, spokesman for ZANU-PF, denied the party was influencing Malema.
“We dont work with Malema, we have nothing to do with him,” Gumbo said. “We have always worked with the ANC.”
Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, spokesman for EFF, said in a phone interview that Mantashe’s statements are an attempt to discredit the group and tarnish its principle of “land expropriation without compensation for equal distribution.”