A WAR of words has broken out in the ruling tripartite alliance, with the ANC Youth League and the National Union of Metalworkers pressing on with their demand that President Jacob Zuma nationalise the country's mines.

The ANCYL and Numsa dismissed ANC general secretary Gwede Mantashe's assertion that the ruling party had no policy to nationalise the mines.

Yesterday Julius Malema again warned that those opposed to nationalisation would not get support for ANC leadership positions come 2012, when the ruling party holds its next elective conference.

Speaking on SABC2, Malema accused Mantashe of "speaking English instead of politics" by insisting that nationalisation was not mentioned in the Freedom Charter.

ANCYL spokesperson Floyd Shivambu said the current laws failed to ensure that people shared in the country's wealth.

The league is unhappy with the fact that while the state owns the mineral rights, it still grants mining licences to private companies.

Numsa spokesperson Castro Ngobese said: "Mantashe has a right to his views. What we want is the nationalisation of the high commanding heights of the economy - the mines, banks and land to be in the hands of the people.

"We at Numsa know that the Freedom Charter remains the key over-arching policy document for action by the ANC-led alliance."

On Tuesday Mantashe warned the Gauteng Young Communist League, ANCYL and Numsa against the "loose reference" to the Freedom Charter in their demand for the nationalisation of mines.

"When people refer to the Freedom Charter, we want them to refer to it accurately because if you don't, you can cause confusion," he said.

"There is no decision of any congress of the ANC to nationalise the mines."

Mantashe said the Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development Act had already "reverted the ownership of mineral deposits to the state".