South Africa's fiery young politician Julius Malema told a rally of his new party on Sunday that a "giant" has been born which should be feared and will fight for the poor.

Thousands had gathered near the Marikana mine where 34 striking workers were shot dead by police last year to cheer the 32-year-old leader and his newly-formed Economic Freedom Fighters party.

"A different baby is born today, a giant... A child that walks immediately. The baby that fights for your living wage," Malema said.

"You must be afraid of that child," he warned, wearing his trademark red beret. "This is the home for the hopeless."

The former leader of the African National Congress' youth league was expelled from the ruling party for ill discipline last year.

He once again called for the expropriation of white land owners and lashed out at President Jacob Zuma and the ANC, which he intends to take on in polls next year.

Malema describes his EFF as "radical left, anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist" but the firebrand is also known for his extravagant lifestyle and is currently fighting fraud and tax evasion charges.

 

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