The red army will radicalise politics in SA

2014-02-23 14:00

The ANC must be ruing the day it chucked young Julius Malema out of the house. While comrades like to taunt those who have left with the words “It’s cold outside the ANC”, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) is in fact red-hot.

Malema and his team of lieutenants have taken their red berets and fiery rhetoric, and turned it into the story of Elections 2014.

As Malema himself has said, he is a kingmaker and no longer a troublemaker.

Research is showing this to be true. In marginal voting provinces, the EFF is likely to hold the balance of power.

Although every effort is being made to ensure his party does not make the cut for Parliament, our bet is that the EFF will win several seats.

What then? Expect a more radical programme.

President Jacob Zuma, responding in Parliament during the debate on his state of the nation address, promised as much this week.

The EFF manifesto is by any measure radical.

The party will not be in power, so its ideas will not be implemented, but Malema’s debating style and the attention he will attract will have a radical impact on the ANC.

With metal workers organised in Numsa putting the meat on the bones of a worker’s party, the next five years are likely to see an even more militant ANC emerge.

The balanced economic model that favoured capital, a feature of the administrations of Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki, is likely to change even more than it has under Zuma.

Perhaps this is the second revolution that the poor and unemployed desperately desire.

Perhaps it will be a populist road to nowhere. One thing is clear: Malema’s EFF will alter the South African body politic.

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