Experts: Malema stands a fighting chance

2013-07-14 19:13

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Malema speaks at EFF launch

2013-07-11 15:44

Julius Malema launched his political organisation, the Economic Freedom Fighters, with cutting statements about nationalisation and how SA should ready itself for a Zimbabwe-like situation. Watch.WATCH

Johannesburg - Political analysts reckon the leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), Julius Malema, stands a fighting chance at the polls next year.

They also say his corruption charges won't harm his popularity as long as he stays out of jail.

But his adversaries in the ANC Youth League national task team have rubbished Malema's chances of succeeding after he left the league's administration in a shambles.

Task team co-ordinator Mzwandile Masina said: “If these guys can’t administer the youth league properly, I want to see what they can do organisationally. We still get unpaid invoices from people all the time.”

He said there was about R50m in unpaid bills and the league would investigate and take criminal steps against all found to have been involved in maladministration.

A recent survey has revealed Malema is popular among young people, with one in four of 18- to 34-year-olds surveyed saying they would vote for him.

Pondering Panda surveyed 3 585 young people across the country.

A quarter of them (25%) said they would vote for the ANC and 15% would vote for the Democratic Alliance.

Independent political analyst Dr Somadoda Fikeni said the EFF could bag a few parliamentary seats after next year’s general election. “Given our electoral system, even if they get a few numbers, they will get a few seats in Parliament.”

Transformation

A party needs about 40 000 votes to get one seat. EFF leaders could then use their seats in Parliament as a base for future expansion, he said.

“There is a market [for a radical party like the EFF] in a country where people are still asking a lot of questions about transformation.

Unemployed youth on the margins of society who are angry with the system could see the EFF as their only way out of poverty.”

Fikeni said Malema’s image and credibility will suffer minimal damage because of his corruption charges if he doesn’t go to jail.

“Most marginalised people idolise him because of his radical language. It resonates with their conditions.”

Aubrey Matshiqi, another independent analyst, said there was no benchmark against which to measure the EFF.

“There are no policy statements, election strategies, or political rallies which give an indication of how people might respond to the party at the polls.”

Their challenge will be to convince young people to go and vote.

“The youth may march with him against economic marginalisation but it doesn’t mean they are prepared to vote for him.”

Read more on:    da  |  anc  |  eff  |  ancyl  |  aubrey matshiqi  |  julius malema  |  economy  |  parliament 2013  |  elections 2014  |  politics
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