JULIUS Malema on Thursday showed no signs that he had lost any of his old bravado, speaking confidently about plans towards the likely formation of a new political party to contest elections next year.
The former African National Congress (ANC) Youth League president is now leader of a new protest movement, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), officially launched at Constitution Hill on Thursday.
"Those who thought we would disappear, they must think again. We are going to be even more radical," he said.
Mr Malema appeared to be on a downward slope after he was expelled from the ANC in April last year, which cost him his position as leader of the party’s youth league.
The 32-year-old had commanded substantial support in the party, but also made powerful enemies. He is expected back in court in November to answer to charges of racketeering and money laundering. His properties were recently auctioned to settle a R16m tax bill.
Mr Malema said the final decision on whether the EFF would contest elections would be taken at a meeting in Soweto at the end of this month, where policies would also be adopted.
He said the EFF’s founding policy direction — which he described as "non-negotiable" — was the push for the nationalisation of mines and the finance sector; a protectionist economy; free basic services; as well as land expropriation without compensation. He said the movement was talking to "strategically positioned" people who could assist with "financing the revolution".
ANC Youth League national task team chairman Mzwandile Masina said in an interview earlier this week that Mr Malema’s conceptualisation of "economic freedom" was "narrow and shallow".
"If you strip it out of nationalisation of mines and the expropriation of land then there is no theory left," Mr Masina said.
However, Mr Masina said he agreed with the debate at its conclusion, despite that the concept in his view did not represent economic freedom.
The EFF also revealed its core leadership as well as provincial leaders, among them disgruntled former ANC members, such as the Free State’s Mpho Ramakatsa, former youth league spokesman Floyd Shivambu, former Generations actor Fana Mokoena, as well as businessman and socialite Kenny Kunene.
Mr Mokoena said he was drawn to the EFF because of its policies. He has a substantial following on social media network Twitter, where he shares his political views.