It is sad when a party loses talented people. It is sadder when one has worked for decades to build a party to see it teetering on the brink of a major setback.
Mostly sunny. Mild.
EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu.
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What do you call a socialist politician who travels in a car worth R800 000 with his R124 000 Louis Vuitton luggage, while wearing red overalls to signify solidarity with the poorest in society?
A charlatan, I would say. It is a French word, originally meaning "a seller of (dodgy) medicines who might advertise his presence with music and an outdoor stage show".
An entirely appropriate description of the EFF's deputy leader, Floyd Shivambu, then.
Floyd's latest shenanigans and his party's campaign to intimidate the media and to insult and defame all their critics with wild, unsubstantiated gossip show that the EFF is worrying. It waits in trepidation for its fake revolutionary cloak to be ripped off and to be exposed to the citizens of South Africa as merely another set of corrupt, greedy politicians.
The Daily Maverick says it has information that Floyd's younger brother Brian, who received R16m for a year's "consultation" from a VBS-aligned company, gave R10m to Floyd. He denies it vehemently. He is supported by his party whose idea of a forensic investigation into Floyd's affairs was to take a quick squizz at his bank statements.
Now Floyd has written a bizarre tirade of 6 400 words, full of wild conspiracy theories and insults, on his personal blog.
He says Pravin Gordhan is the sinister head of an almighty "criminal cabal" and blames every conceivable ill in South Africa on him.
President Cyril Ramaphosa, in contrast, is "an absent president who is largely indifferent to important matters of state", Floyd proclaims.
Pravin's cabal has all the state-owned enterprises in its pocket and controls large sections of the media, he says.
The Nugent commission of inquiry into SARS was established "with the sole purpose of exonerating Pravin from the sins he committed whilst he was SARS commissioner".
Will the deputy leader of a political party in Parliament and himself an MP now approach the Nugent commission to point out these "sins"? Don't hold your breath.
The information that Nhlanhla Nene had several meetings with the Guptas, says Floyd, "came from the Pravin controlled cabal and its domesticated Africans". The VBS report was "hurriedly issued" because the Pravin cabal feared losing control of Treasury, SARS and the Reserve Bank.
(I'm not making this up. I'm quoting from Floyd's blog.)
Floyd's intense dislike of South Africans of Indian descent runs like a golden thread through his piece. He even says Reserve Bank chief Lesetja Kganyago is actually just a puppet of his deputy, Kuben Naidoo.
We have all taken note of the many apologies, corrections, evidence and sworn testimony that the former SARS investigative unit was never a "rogue unit". Not our Floyd. That unit was rogue, it was illegal, it committed multiple crimes and in fact its evil work is still carried on by Pravin and his cabal, he says.
Floyd Shivambu's blog reads like one of those looney pieces with outlandish conspiracy theories one sometimes encounters on the internet. He stops short of blaming the Illuminati and George Soros for forming a dark new world order that dreamt up climate change. It truly is a most fantastical, delusional piece of writing.
Why is the EFF, led by clever, highly educated people, behaving like this?
I think they fear that all their own corruption, fraud and theft will soon be exposed and they are now trying to discredit all people and institutions involved in order to soften the impact on the minds of their supporters and potential voters in next April's election.
It is a pity. The EFF has great potential to be a positive disrupting force in our stale politics and to bring much energy to our democracy. I personally think their Venezuela-style policies would destroy South Africa, but I do think the EFF has a place in our political landscape.
It has enjoyed unprecedented publicity and even goodwill on the part of large sections of our media, much more that the Official Opposition with three times its electoral support.
Why is that?
Partly, I think, because some journalists fall for Julius Malema's brilliant media strategy, and partly because they mistake entertainment for substance; gossip for inside information.
But some simply fear the EFF and prefer to stay on its good side. We know from the past behaviour of Malema and Shivambu that a free media is not exactly their priority.
The EFF is the only political party in South Africa that actively and blatantly intimidates and threatens journalists, often by name. And once one of the leaders mentions a journalist's name, a barrage of abusive and aggressive army of followers descends on him or her on social media. I know about that.
I hope the EFF's media honeymoon is over – it lasted five years. There is no reason to treat it any differently than other political parties.
But with today's journalists one can never be sure.
By the way, my information about Floyd's expensive taste in luggage and cars comes from a report in the newspaper Rapport, who priced the suitcases he was photographed with and photographed his Mercedes SUV – actually, he says it belongs to his wife, his limousine was in for repairs, apparently.
Floyd is not the only EFF leader flashing his millions. Malema's mansion in Sandton was sold on an auction for R5,9m some years ago (he is still only 37 years old) and SARS demanded R14m worth in taxes from him at the time – he was a tenderpreneur then. EFF chairperson Dali Mpofu left as boss of the SABC under a cloud in 2009 – with a golden handshake of R14,1m.
Yes, EFF Twitter army, of course there are politicians in other political parties who are also wealthy. But they are mostly much older, don't pretend that they're socialists and don't parade as the champions of the unemployed and the poorest of the poor.
But if you have any information on any other politicians on the take or in need of a lifestyle audit, please let me know and I'll write about them too.
Disclaimer: News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24.
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