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JOHANNESBURG, Julius Malema, leader of the South African opposition political party, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), has has attacked the country's banking institutions for what he describes as irrationally repossessing cars and houses of individuals who fail to repay their loans.

Speaking at a forum organized by the Rand Merchant Bank here Thursday, Malema stresses that a different repossessing mechanism must be developed. He said the emerging middle class cannot meaningfully participate in the economy because their unending debt had made them slaves of banks and insurance companies.

Malema believes South Africa needs economic growth before it can talk about wealth distribution. He also called on banks to give black people preference especially those who want to buy property.

The EFF leader said South Africa was dealing with a banking cartel which is determined to make sure that black people do not own property. He added that the EFF had made many submissions to Parliament on why banks should not be allowed to dispose off people's assets; especially those who have actually paid for the value of their properties.

The EFF leader urged banks to look at housing finance differently and give housing loans for a period of less than ten years

He said: We have a problem that a bank spends 200,000 Rand (for a housing loan) and then sells that house to another individual for R400 000. Even if a person has repaid more than R250,000, and the bank has collected their cost, but once you fail to pay the remaining R150,000, the bank will never have mercy on you, even if they are not running at a loss.

"We see that as a contribution towards homelessness in South Africa. Black people were not allowed to own property in the apartheid government and post-apartheid it looks like black people are not allowed by the banks to own property."

The EFF says it supports the call for a government-owned bank and the call for a State-owned mining company. Malema also lashed out against the abnormally high salaries of corporate leaders. The party says it supports calls for the nationalization of the South African Reserve Bank but wants the independence of the bank to remain intact.

In addition, Malema is obstinate that government should protect industrialization and the growth of new industries to create jobs. He has called on the private sector to support struggling students in tertiary institutions.


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