Game on for EFF, ANC and DA

2014-02-23 14:00

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

It was undoubtedly the biggest manifesto launch of a new party South Africa has seen.

Despite attempts by the ANC to lure supporters away from the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) event with a music concert 6km away, 50 000 people crammed the Mehlareng Stadium in Tembisa, Ehurhuleni, to hear Julius Malema kick off his election campaign.

As more than 10 000 people attended the ANC event at which popular party leaders Fikile Mbalulu and Malusi Gigaba spoke, those who couldn’t get into the EFF event sat and listened from outside.

City Press has learnt that there are serious concerns from within the ANC about how the EFF will fare in the May 7 election. A strategist close to the ANC said the party’s own polls showed that its support could drop to below 60%.

“We are doing everything we can to pull the rug from under the EFF,” said an ANC NEC member who was deployed to Limpopo, where the party’s top six campaigned this weekend.

“A party needs 50 000 votes for one seat in Parliament. We want to ensure that the EFF doesn’t even get one.” The ANC’s efforts come as its own polls show the party is hovering just below 60% of the vote.

This is similar to the DA’s polls for the ANC, which DA insiders say show the ANC will get between 59% and 61% of the vote.

An EFF national leader, who declined to be named, said the party projected to get around 20% of the national vote, even though an Ipsos poll put its support at around 7% in January.

EFF leader Advocate Dali Mpofu said the party had conducted no polls yet, but was expecting to receive enough support in some provinces to force coalition governments.

“We can only talk about polls at the end of March ... We want to capture as much of the national vote as possible,” he said.

On Friday night, Malema suggested that he wanted coalition governments in North West, Gauteng and Limpopo after the elections. The EFF is also banking on the support of the small leftist organisations and parties, such as Azapo and South Africa First, which gave messages of support to the party yesterday.

Malema invoked the memories of the victims of Marikana, Andries Tatane, Peter Mokaba, Chris Hani and Sabelo Phama in his plea for votes. The widows of Marikana miners killed by police in August 2012 also attended the event.

“I am appealing to you to honour their loved ones. They are saying they can’t continue to kill us and you continue to vote for them,” he said. “Let us hear the battle cry of those widows. As they sing, they are asking you to rescue them from pain.”

Yesterday’s performance showed a more mature Malema who has moved away from the theatrics he was famous for as ANC Youth League leader. His presentation was sombre and ­appealed to the emotions of voters who had become disgruntled with the ANC.

Although his manifesto was clearly populist, it sought to appeal to a wider spectrum of voters than the youths who had filled Mehlareng Stadium.

It also showed a leader who knew the odds were stacked against him and that his party’s survival hinged on it having more than one leader.

He spoke highly of his “central committee” which includes party spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, actor and EFF arts head Fana Mokoena, justice commissar Mpofu, land reform head Andile Mngxitama, economic development head and activist Sipho Mbatha, and ­education commissar and long-time ally Floyd Shivambu.

The EFF manifesto contains populist appeals, including a promise to ensure that 60% of mines are owned by the state to fund the doubling of social grants. The manifesto promises miners R12?500 a month plus 10% of their mines.

Other proposals include moving ­Parliament from Cape Town to Pretoria to reduce accommodation and transport costs and a ban on state-bought cars and houses for ministers and MECs.

Malema said the EFF would force all public servants to send their children to state schools and use state hospitals, and implement a minimum wage of R4?500 a month.

To fight corruption, the tender system would be abolished, as well as the use of consultants and project managers. To fund this, the EFF will nationalise 60% of privately owned mines, banks and other strategic sectors of the economy. All land will belong to government and farmers will lease it from the state.

Political analyst Ralph Mathekga said the manifesto was based on “raw economics that don’t work” and was calculated to make things difficult for the ANC.

On Friday night, Malema said his party would take the Independent Electoral Commission to court for prescribing a R200?000 fee for contesting national elections and R45?000 per province for provincial elections.

He told guests at a Boksburg gala dinner, where tables were sold for R20?000 and seats for R2?000, that it was unfair for new entrants to fork out huge sums. The dinner raised only R2?million, Malema said, which would go towards the party’s election coffers.

No high-profile guests attended, suggesting perhaps that EFF funders were not yet prepared to show their faces. Malema will not name the businessman who donated the Mercedes-Benz campaign truck the party is using.

ANC

The ghost of former ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema loomed large at the music festival his erstwhile bosses staged just 6km from the EFF’s big manifesto launch.

The 10 000-seater Makhulong Stadium was a sea of yellow ANC T-shirts dished out by the ANC marshals as supporters arrived in buses from across Gauteng.

Malema’s former friends and comrades, including Sport Minister Fikile Mbalula and NEC member Pule Mabe, hurled insults at Malema, describing him as an ANC “factory fault” who leads a group of “still-born chancers”.

Although Mabe vehemently denied that the festival was a response to the EFF’s launch, each leader who spoke denounced Malema as an “anarchist hellbent on the destruction of the state”. Mabe said the ANC was not “scared” of Malema, whom he accused of abandoning his father in the streets.

“His father is an adult street kid, a hobo that Malema doesn’t want to acknowledge. Malema builds houses for people who don’t need houses, but he neglects his own father,” he said. “We must not be scared of Malema. We’re not concerned about the EFF. They are dogmatic and anarchic.

But the ANC will not close its eyes to a passing fly that tells lies about our organisation. Malema is not a commander in chief; he is a commander of chancers.”

Mabe said Malema created an impression that he was “rich”, forgetting that his fortunes were made “possible” by the ANC. Colourful Mini Coopers, BMWs and motorbikes in convoys were used as campaign tools that crisscrossed the Ekurhuleni township of Tembisa and the stadium blaring struggle songs and waving ANC flags.

Nine hundred police officers were deployed to the township and were stationed at every corner around the stadium to prevent any clashes.

Mbalula fired the first salvo at the “brothers” he said were “dreamers” who had lost direction by leaving the ANC for the EFF.

“We’re here to defend the ANC from people who thought they were more popular than the ANC. Our brothers are trying their luck. Wherever they go, good luck to them because the ANC is indestructible,” said Mbalula.

Collen Malatji, president of Cosas, which Malema led as a student, described him as a “factory fault” that the youth league was responsible for creating. Among the ANC leaders who attended the festival were Malusi Gigaba, Paul Mashatile, Qedani Mahlangu and David Makhura.

Mashatile said: “We can’t be threatened by parties that were born yesterday. The ANC has been here for over 100 years. To the young people, you must disappoint them, and go out and vote for the ANC.”

- Xolani Mbanjwa

DA

The DA will hold a special caucus meeting tomorrow to discuss fresh internal policy ructions – this time around the reopening of land claims.

A confidential caucus memorandum leaked to City Press suggests the party changed its position on land because “it would be foolhardy in the extreme to take an adverse position on land restitution” before the elections.

The party’s manifesto, to be launched in Polokwane today, doesn’t mention land claims, apart from promising that a DA government would allocate an extra R10 billion to “speed up land reform, and provide training and support for emerging farmers”. The caucus was supposed to decide on the matter on Thursday.

Parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko said DA deputy land reform spokesperson Kevin Mileham’s statement last week saying that the party supported the reopening of land claims until 2019 for those who missed the 1998 deadline, provided there was enough money, was policy, “but he was not speaking on the legislation”.

The reopening of land claims will be debated in Parliament on Tuesday.

Party leader Helen Zille, however, told City Press the DA didn’t have a policy on the reopening of land claims and she was working on a position paper on it yesterday afternoon.

She said she would release the DA’s official position after tomorrow’s caucus meeting. Zille said Mileham, who is “new”, issued the statement because he doesn’t know how caucus processes around policy worked.

A caucus member claimed Zille was unhappy at Thursday’s caucus meeting over how the matter was dealt with, but she denied this. Tomorrow’s special meeting comes after some of the DA’s traditional white supporters, unofficially represented by minority rights lobby group AfriForum, this week threatened to take their votes elsewhere should the DA persist with its line.

The party’s internal polls put its voter support at an all-time high of 25% following the “implosion” of Mamphela Ramphele’s Agang SA earlier this month. But the same polls show the land reform issue could knock the DA off this perch. Last year the caucus clashed over whether it should support bills pushing for affirmative action and BEE along pure race lines.

The party’s MPs will meet tomorrow to decide what the DA would say in a debate on the Restitution of Land Rights Amendment Bill. AfriForum’s Kallie Kriel warned that the DA should not disregard its voters’ interest and use them as “voting cattle”.

“One mistake the DA makes is they underestimate their voters. You shouldn’t think that you could get black votes by having similar views as the ANC,” he said. “They worked hard to build a party to become the official opposition and we don’t want to see them embrace the ANC.”

DA Memorandum

DA Manifesto

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.