‘History of offensive remarks’ lost KZN for the EFF

2014-05-09 00:00

THE Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) have blamed the ANC for their poor showing in KwaZulu-Natal, but experts believe they never had a chance in the province in the first place.

And the left-leaning party’s rhetoric on land ownership could very well have distanced the party further from KZN’s amakhosi, whose power is vested in the tribal lands.

The party’s provincial leader, Vusi Khoza, acknowledged the EFF “expected more” from KZN, after telling the voters “what they wanted to hear”.

“There was a lot of intimidation, particularly from the ANC, but we stood our ground. We are happy that just eight months since our formation we have managed to have an impact,” said Khoza.

He said they were “the only party” whose message was “understood by all”.

“Our leader the Commander-in-Chief Julius Malema had problems canvassing in the province.

“We are the vanguard of the community, we are on the streets, we are walking with the masses. We believe we will not lose momentum.”

He said they will assess the political data to view “how we performed in order to prepare for the municipal elections”.

He said the party would consider using its leverage as a possible “kingmaker” in various provinces but would not “compromise on its values”.

“If we form an alliance with a political party they must accept our policies of expropriation of land without compensation and the nationalisation of the mines.”

But University of KwaZulu-Natal senior political lecturer Dr Suzanne Francis said it was not unexpected for the EFF to have performed poorly in KZN.

“The EFF has a history of offending KZN residents.

“Back in 2009, when Malema was still active with the ANCYL, he had to apologise to the Zulu monarchy for comments he made. It is not unusual that the EFF has not done well in the election in KZN.

“In this province it is not necessarily about the message but rather how the message is conveyed. Malema has never understood the culture of the province and how to talk to the people of the province,” said Francis.

She said communal land was also deeply entrenched in KZN and any talk of making the state the “custodian of the land” would threaten rural communities.

“For amakhosi their power is in the land. Land in KZN is culturally significant,” said Francis.

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