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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Nationalisation and South African Property

Julius Malema & your property rights
Jackie Cameron
03 February 2010

‘Have 20 properties, as long as you're a local'- ANC Youth League speaks to Realestateweb

CAPE TOWN: The ANC Youth League, becoming increasingly vocal and more controversial in its views, gives investors in South African residential property its blessing - provided they are not foreigners.

This was the message from Floyd Shivambu, spokesperson for the ANC Youth League, in response to questions from Realestateweb, property news site in the Johannesburg-listed Moneyweb stable.

"They can own more than one house, they can even own 20 houses. There's nothing wrong with that," said Shivambu of property investors with South African assets in a telephonic interview.

"We don't agree with foreign control of South African land. South Africa must be owned by South Africans," he continued.

The ANC Youth League is headed by Julius Malema, who has become a household name thanks largely to his colourful and often controversial comments. The ANC Youth League seems to have played a key role in ensuring President Jacob Zuma and the ANC's political success during last year's election. It is owed favours by the ANC's ruling politicians. It is also increasingly trying to call the shots at the highest political levels.

Earlier this week, the ANC Youth League lashed out at mineral resources minister Susan Shabangu after she attempted to reassure international investors at a mining conference in Cape Town that nationalisation of mines is not government policy.

The organisation accused her of being "disingenuous and dishonest" and of not understanding the ANC after she reportedly said nationalisation of mines would not happen in her life time. "In our internal discussion with Minister Shabangu, she said that she does not disagree with the ANC Youth League, but because she is now trying to impress imperialists, she changes her tone," said Shivambu.

"The ANC is the centre of power and gives direction to government policy, not vice versa. The reason why the ANC Youth League has developed a concrete programme on the nationalisation of Mines within the ANC, not in government, is because we understand that the ANC gives policy direction to government. The ANC policy objectives are located within the Freedom Charter, which says Mineral wealth beneath the soil shall be transferred to the ownership of the people as a whole," said the ANC Youth League.

Shivambu told Realestateweb that he was "100%" sure nationalisation of mines "is going to happen". "The sooner investors realise that, the better...Investors mustn't be misled," he said.

Talk of nationalisation is worrying for many investors in South Africa and those with the ability to command foreign investment flows. It also raises the possibility that South Africa will ultimately go down the same political and economic road as ailing northern neighbour Zimbabwe.

Another thorny issue that is lurking in the background is land expropriation, a concept supported by ANC leaders. Expropriation sparked Zimbabwe's economic demise, ultimately leading to hyperinflation and severe financial hardship for its people.

The ANC Youth League is fully supportive of land expropriation, but not with "generalised compensation". Although the ANC Youth League leaders have not yet applied their minds fully to land expropriation and "haven't yet entered" that debate, the idea is that it should be guided by "objectives" and "conditions" and with the objective of the "restoration of wealth", Shivambu told Realestateweb.

But on the question of whether individuals who have amassed property portfolios should be worried, Shivambu said: "That's an easy one." As long as you are South African, you are welcome to grow your residential property portfolio, is the current ANCYL thinking. Write to

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