African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) leader Julius Malema has promised to ensure that ANC leaders who oppose his efforts to put the country's mines in the State's hands are removed from the party, the Sunday Independent reported.
"Comrades we are not threatened... we will fight until we realise economic freedom in our lifetime. Political power without economic power is useless," he said at the launch of the league's nationalisation campaign in Maandagshoek, Limpopo.
If mining didn't benefit the majority, the league would ensure that it didn't benefit the minority of the country's people either, he reportedly said.
He referred to mines in the area as "daylight robbers".
"The people who steal these resources play golf in London. They know nothing about your poverty. These mines (have) brought nothing but sickness."
The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) was "highly perturbed" by Malema's statements.
"Not only does the NUM finds the utterances unacceptable, but [they] threaten the livelihoods and security of jobs of the over 400 000 mineworkers employed in the industry," spokesperson Lesiba Seshoka said in a statement.
The union insisted that nothing affecting its workers would be done without their involvement.
"While the NUM supports State intervention in strategic sectors of the economy in order to alleviate dire poverty within the populace, we refuse to be blackmailed, indoctrinated and manipulated by juveniles."
The union supported the ANC's resolution, taken at its recent national general council, that proper research be done on nationalisation. These findings should be presented to the ANC's national conference in 2012.
Seshoka called on the ANC to provide much-needed leadership to its youth wing, to ensure that no serious damage was done to the country's reputation or mining industry.