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Malema's warning

By Bongekile Skosana and Kingdom Mabuza | 2011-10-28 07:04:37.0

'Listen to us or there will be blood on the floor'

ANCYL president Julius Malema has warned big business that there will be war if the demands made by the thousands who participated in the "economic freedom" march yesterday are ignored.

Malema - who led an estimated 10000 protesters through the city of Johannesburg - said the march organised by the ANCYL was peaceful but "there would be blood on the floor" should their demands not be met.

"To prevent blood on the floor you must deliver to our demands", Malema said after handing over a memorandum of demands to Chamber of Commerce chief executive Bheki Sibiya.

He sounded the same warning when the marchers arrived at the Johannesburg Stock Exchange to hand over another memorandum.

"You must respond to our demands because we have come peaceful," Malema told the recipient of the memorandum.

The demands made by the ANCYL include:

* Nationalisation of mines with the state owning and controlling a minimum of 60% of all mines;

* Beneficiation of a minimum of 60% of all the minerals extracted. The beneficiation should happen in the communities where mining takes place;

* Provision of education, skills and expertise to the South African youth to ensure that they play an active role in the economy;

* Expropriation of land by the state in the public interest with or without compensation; and

* Improvement in miners' wages.

The largely peaceful march brought the Johannesburg city centre to a standstill as protesters snaked their way to the Chamber of Mines in Marshall Street.

The marchers had set off from Beyers Naude Square at noon, four hours later than planned due to transport problems.

Led by Malema and a formation of police cars, four Casspirs and a water cannon, the group sang revolutionary songs and danced through the CBD.

After spending 20 minutes at the chamber's offices, marchers headed for the next planned stage of the march, the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in Sandton.

Trading continued throughout the day at the JSE despite the expected activity outside the institution.

Malema urged supporters to exercise maximum discipline throughout their "long walk to economic freedom".

"Take your time and walk. We have the whole day and night. You must not run," he said.

"We [the leadership] are coming to march with you because we are all from poor backgrounds."

Yesterday police spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Lungelo Dlamini said everything was going well.

"There have been no disruptions since the march started. Everything is peaceful."

By late yesterday afternoon the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in Gwen Lane in Sandton was prepared for the protesters' arrival, with railing gates wrapped in black plastic sealing off its underground parking entrances.

Police in bakkies waited at the end of Gwen Lane, which was blocked at one end.

After handing the memorandum at the JSE the marchers were planning to walk to Pretoria, where they were to hold a night vigil before tomorrow's march to the Union Buildings.

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