Banks should give preference to blacks - Julius Malema

EFF leader tells SAPOA convention that he was complaining about WMC long before the Guptas were

Malema: Rupert has never challenged me

21 June 2017

Cape Town - Economic Freedom Front leader Julius Malema said business tycoon Johann Rupert, who he claims is one of the people who has a monopoly on the economy, has never challenged him in court about his utterances.

Malema made the remarks on Wednesday in front of more than 1 000 delegates attending the annual convention and expo of the SA Property Owners Association (SAPOA) in Cape Town.

The former ANCYL president also shared very specific ideas on what should be done with shopping malls, the lack of student accommodation and office space.

"I greet the captains of the industry. We thought you would be the last people who would want to hear from us. When you invite us, you must be sure you are not sensitive to the truth. We present working solutions to the crises of poverty, unemployment and inequality in SA."

Malema emphasised repeatedly that, in his view, the property owners at the SAPOA convention are beneficiaries of past policies they are benefiting and still getting rich from today. SAPOA members, for instance, control about 90% of commercial property in SA. According to Malema, black direct ownership is less than 1%.

"Today, thousands of black students sleep in toilets for lack of student accommodation while you build other things. I tell you, if there is a disruption that we need today, it is one of your near-sightedness of being profit-driven. There will never be any disruption without land transformation," said Malema.

Malema explained that the EFF wants to be sure community trusts control at least 40% of malls in their regions, and property owners should play a meaningful role where they invest in commercial properties.

"We call for property owners to consider local small retailers when they build malls, not monopoly-owned companies. The commercial property sector must always create rent-free space for men and women who participate in small-scale trading.

"We are making a humble appeal that when you build a mall or office space or any property, there should be a section created for the poor people, especially the emerging masses in the townships and rural areas," said Malema.

"You must have a deliberate programme for people you found operating in those areas. Many of them cannot afford the rent in those areas. It is also extremely concerning that it must go beyond ownership to the companies delivering services like security and gardening."

Instead of malls and shopping centres, Malema said there is a need to rather build factories and production firms. He wants to see all domestic investors spending their investments on job creation.

"That is where we need investment. Where there are so many on social grants and many unemployed, it is not a healthy society. We need to build a productive economy," he said.

He called on commercial property owners to invest in the revival of, for instance, Johannesburg and make sure hijacked buildings are revitalised.

"You can make a profit while creating homes for many of our people. Property owners in SA should reflect the demographics of our country and play a role in achieving this. We need real black property owners allowed to buy into existing property," said Malema.

"We call on banks to give preference to black people. They are not lazy. They were excluded by a previous regime. We should have a fund to allow black people to develop their own properties or buy into property. They must not be the front for whites."

Malema said the EFF spoke about the concept of white monopoly capital "long before the Guptas became fashionable".

"Rupert is one of the people monopolising our economy. The problem of whiteness – not white people – is that when you speak about white people they close rank," said Malema. "He has never challenged me in court about what I say."

In his view, the state must be the custodian of land and then lease it back to allocated people - who could even be the original owner - to use for a defined purpose.

"Why will investors go if we bring the land and say 'you build the factory and manufacture locally'?"