JOHANNESBURG, Nov 27 (Reuters) - South Africa’s Julius Malema, the firebrand leader of the ANC’s Youth League, has admitted his political career is over after his suspension from the ruling party for breaking its internal rules, the Sunday Times newspaper reported.
The paper said Malema, the main force behind a push to nationalise the mines and banks in Africa’s biggest economy, had admitted he was “finished politically” and had decided to go into cattle farming.
“I have 20 cattle now,” he told the paper. “We will breed them, take them to the abattoir, slaughter them and then sell the meat.”
The African National Congress (ANC) suspended Malema for five years earlier this month for causing rifts in the party and undermining foreign policy by calling for the overthrow of the elected government of neighbouring Botswana.
He lodged an appeal against the ruling this week, although the report in South Africa’s Sunday Times suggests he is not optimistic about the outcome.
“I am not this religious person who believes that some intervention will come from heaven. I have looked at the trends. I have listened to the speeches. They are all pointing in one direction,” he was quoted as saying.
Malema looked tired during the interview and declined to be photographed, the paper added.
The 30-year-old rose to prominence with calls to seize white-owned farm land and nationalise mines in the world’s largest platinum producer, alarming investors.
The calls also won him legions of supporters from the country’s poor black majority, who hope to see more wealth from the land and also envision him as a future leader.
Malema’s absence from the political scene is also likely to smooth President Jacob Zuma’s path to re-election as head of the ANC — and therefore a second term in office — at a major party congress in a year’s time. (Reporting by Ed Cropley; Editing by Sophie Hares)