Malema Elected Unopposed as Head of S. Africa’s ANC Youth Wing

ANC Youth Leader Julius Malema
ANC Youth Leader Julius Malema. Photographer: Alexander Joe/AFP/Getty Images

The youth wing of South Africa’s ruling African National Congress elected Julius Malema as leader for a second term, strengthening his call for the nationalization of the country’s mines and land.

Malema, 30, was elected unopposed, the ANC Youth League said in an e-mailed statement late yesterday. The former student leader has drawn criticism from members of the ruling alliance for his comments on race, expropriation of land and mines without compensation and political opponents.

The Youth League’s push for the nationalization of mines, banks and land, the last of which without compensation, threatens to depress shares in companies such as Anglo American Plc, the biggest investor in South African mining, and Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd, the world’s second-largest miner of the metal. South Africa’s mines, which include the world’s biggest platinum operations, platinum, chrome and manganese, are its biggest export earners.

“The talk makes people nervous,” Kristin Lindow, sovereign credit analyst at Moody’s Investors Service, said in an interview in Johannesburg on May 9. “It’s certainly a deterrent to investment in the mining sector, if not generally.”

South African President Jacob Zuma is no longer assured of Youth League backing for his own re-election as party leader next year, said Aubrey Matshiqi, a research fellow at the Johannesburg-based Helen Suzman Foundation. Malema, who drummed up support for Zuma when he ousted former-President Thabo Mbeki in 2007, was upset by a public reprimand from the president last year and the little public backing he has received for his positions.

Lebogang Maile, the chairman of the youth wing’s Gauteng province branch, declined a nomination to stand against Malema, the Johannesburg-based South African Press Association reported.