When the EFF was formed a few months ago I have to admit that I was one of those commentators that simply did not believe that the party would have much of an impact at voting stations around South Africa in 2014.
Although I still vividly oppose the policies of the EFF I have to now admit thanks to the exact science that is hindsight, that the EFF will be a major threat to the ANC and although a long way from ‘being a government in waiting’ as Mr Malema would have us believe they are making all the right noises.
The EFF is out there and are connecting with thousands of disillusioned and disenfranchised youth and to a certain extent the older generation as well. These are constituents that have lost hope in the rainbow nation and want radical economic policy change. Through his charismatic personality, Malema has managed to connect with these voters. ENCA ran a story about the strength of EFF’s branding accomplished in a very short period of time.
Voters have been able to identify with the party while a party like Agang for example (another new party) have failed to make any sort of impact. Quoting Political analyst Aubrey Matshiqi "There is a sense of energy about the campaign of the EFF, yes it is still early. But you don't see the same kind of energy, the same kind of promise when it comes to Agang." Mamphela Ramphele seems aloof unable to connect with the masses, she comes across as a person lacking a clear vision and plan.
I for one have been very disappointed in Mamphela’s negative campaigning the majority of her media exposure has been directed at spelling out all of the ANC’s weaknesses and short comings. Unfortunately we all know the ANC’s short coming on corruption etc. the question is what is your plan and vision for the country? Malema is clear and precise with his messaging I know what the EFF is about even if I disagree.
Malema pledges; "to emancipate the black people of South Africa, the working class in particular, from economic bondage". Also in the EFF’s favour is the fact that there are very little or no left wing political parties with the kind of exposure EFF has managed to garnish. While in other elections this segment of the electorate had stayed at home for a lack of a better option in 2014 they have an option in the form of the EFF.
Having said all of this though how many people have thoroughly examined the policies of the EFF? Malema is correct in saying that while we have achieved political freedom the vast majority of South Africans have yet to taste economic freedom and are still in as much bondage as they were during the dark days of apartheid.
Examining the manifesto of the EFF I find that the EFF is calling for more socialism with policies very similar to that of the former ruling party the National Party granted written in a vastly different language.
Main points of EFF’s manifesto:
- Redistribution of land without compensation
- Nationalisation of mines, banks, and other strategic sectors of the economy, also without compensation
- The abolishment of the tender system by building state capacity
- Free education, housing and sanitation
- Minimum wages to close the wage gap between the rich and the poor
I describe with a number of points in the EFF’s manifesto. Firstly the EFF wants to increase state capacity but why would one want to do that? We have seen over the last 20 years that as flawed as the private sector may be what it does generally works while government has failed in many respects, Telkom and SAA for example.
Now imagine if we place these strategic sectors of the economy such as our strong banking sector and mining under the state. Secondly minimum wages create more employment issues firms hire less in order to cut costs we need to first stimulate economic growth and create more employment opportunities prior to increase wages. Thirdly I also disagree with Malema on education anything that is worth while needs to have some sort of monetary value attached to it.
I see thousands of students casually going through varsity without any urgency and as a result over 50% of first year university students are dropping out costing the tax payer billions of rands. Once something is ‘free’ it loses it value, I advocate offering repayable loans to anyone that qualifies for university which are discontinued once a person fails two semesters.
I for one understand the value of education as I had to largely finance my studies while working with all those financial sacrifices failure was never an option. The EFF goes on to contradict itself by stating ‘people shall have equal rights to trade where they choose, to manufacture and to enter all trades, crafts and professions’ but what if I want to be a mine owner what happens then?
Quoting President Nelson Mandela; "Money won't create success, the freedom to make it will." Economic freedom will only be achieved when we give people access to create wealth. This means improving our schools, hiring competent teachers, having competent none political youth agencies to fund young business people. Malema’s policies are clear and precise but how they will be accomplished on the other hand remains vague.
Malema is right about one thing though radical economic change needs to take place for no longer can we continue to have 50% of our youth unemployed according to the latest SA stats for this creates the perfect breeding ground for civil war just ask Tunisia.
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