South Africans March Against Unemployment, Poverty

Posted October 27th, 2011 at 7:50 am (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

At least 2,000 South Africans are taking part Thursday in a demonstration in Johannesburg to demand the government do more to address joblessness and poverty.

The demonstration was organized by the controversial youth leader of the governing African National Congress, Julius Malema, who is known for his calls to nationalize the country’s mines and redistribute white-owned farmland to poor blacks.

Protesters sang, danced and held signs protesting the country’s high unemployment rate, which is over 25 percent.

Demonstrators plan to march to South Africa’s Chamber of Mines and the Johannesburg Stock Exchange before heading 60 kilometers north to the capital of Pretoria.

After an overnight vigil in the capital, Malema plans to present government officials with a list of demands, including government assistance for jobs and housing, as well as the nationalization of the mines.

Hundreds of police closely monitored Thursday’s protest in Johannesburg.

In August, hundreds of Malema supporters clashed with police at the start of a series of disciplinary hearings brought against Malema by the ANC.

Malema faces expulsion from the party after saying in July that the youth league would form a team to help oust Botswana’s government, and calling Botswana a security threat to Africa. He also called the country a “puppet” of the United States. Malema later apologized for making the statement.

He and Mr. Zuma once were allies but their relationship soured as the president ignored Malema’s policy demands.