EFF: Freedom Front has missed the point

2013-08-28 00:00

SO the Freedom Front objects to the Economic Freedom Fighters registering as a political party because it has “fighters” as part of its name.

The Freedom Front has typically gone for the fear factor. It focused on “fighters” and ignored “freedom” and “economic”, which are key words.

It has deliberately missed the point.

I say deliberately because the Economic Freedom Fighters is a party founded on the premise that freedom is a human necessity, hence its name.

It is an off-shoot of Afrikaner nationalism that understood that political power is but one wing with which the freedom bird needs to fly. Economic freedom is the other wing.

Fortunately, those who don’t like what the EFF stands for can do something about it that does not entail wishing it away. It does not matter what their political affiliation or skin colour are.

They could start by asking themselves what it is they do to make parties like the EFF find resonance with their constituency.

In an economic system that excludes the majority for reasons they had no control over, such as their skin colour, with an education system that seems interested in getting as many young people as possible out of the system, regardless of whether they have the necessary skills, had Julius Malema and Floyd Shivambo not started the party, someone else would have.

A land-restitution policy that, for all intents and purposes, will not resolve the land hunger and correct the injustice of dispossession, is the real concern, not whether a political outfit calls itself a front or fighters.

There is no doubt that policies advocated by the EFF will make any future investor, local or foreign, who is interested in the areas targeted by the EFF, cautious or even think of disinvesting.

A critical question investors need to ask themselves is whether the current wealth and opportunity imbalances do not amount to an inherent political risk in themselves.

Whatever answers they arrive at, it becomes everyone’s responsibility to make parties such as the EFF irrelevant. Hopefully, the EFF understands that, like all freedom movements, it must have a limited time frame.

We must arrive at a time when social and economic justice is as commonplace as the political freedom some take for granted.

Economic and social justice are not open to debate. It is the how you get there that’s worth discussion.

The EFF has nailed its colours to the mast and not everyone thinks they make sense.

Those who care about the future of their country, and are not just beholden to sectarian interest, will do well to remember that economic justice and fair opportunity are the only bulwarks against an uprising by the poor.

An uprising that will not care too much about the niceties of language, as the Freedom Front clearly does.

They might or might not have names the Freedom Front approves of, but they will always be a thorn in the side of those who are too comfortable in the new South Africa to realise that for the majority, it is still 1977.

Such parties will continue to baffle the educated elite whose comfortable lives have made them think that people eat the lofty ideals enshrined in the Constitution.

• Fikile-Ntsikelelo Moya is a freelance writer and former editor of The Witness.

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