Julius Malema. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON
Julius Malema. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON

EFF leader Julius Malema has torn into the private sector and criticised companies such as Rand Merchant Bank (RMB) and Absa for treating poor black people like "charity cases".

Speaking at the RMB Macro Forum in Sandton on Thursday, Malema said the private sector spent money on shoes and iPads, but not on accommodation or school fees.

"We don’t want you to do those things of charity. We are not a charity case, we can buy shoes and iPads on our own. We just want to be empowered. We don’t need RMB and Absa to come give us charity," he said.

Malema took shots at RMB and Absa for using charity as a marketing ploy rather than dealing with real challenges.

"Why do you even want to tell people you’re feeding us, why can’t you just do it quietly?" he asked.

His party’s economic policy remained one of "redistributive growth", Malema said, with free education at the heart of wealth redistribution.

"You cannot give senior positions and strategic positions to illiterates because they will collapse institution[s]," he said.

The lack of quality education was a legacy of apartheid. "In order to change that, we ought to educate our people. An educated black nation is a direct threat to white supremacy."

Discussing the issue of nationalising the central bank and land expropriation, which came up at the ANC policy conference this week, Malema said that the party’s recommendations on the expropriation of land came directly from the EFF’s political playbook.

Malema said that the land question should not be seen as an attack on white people. However, he warned that "the unwillingness to help will lead to a disastrous situation".

"The debate is how do we share the land, how do we share the wealth? You’re staying here and it means that we must share the wealth and the land."

The EFF also wanted a state-owned bank and state-owned mines to act in competition to existing mines and banks.

"We’re not saying we’re going to replace you," he said. "We must establish our own to compete." Big banks were monopolising the industry.

"There must be a huge difference forcing you to come down [with prices] and meet the competition of the state."

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