EFF: ANC is copying us

Johannesburg - The Economic Freedom Fighters on Sunday said the ANC had abandoned the principles of the Freedom Charter and was now trying to copy the opposition party's radical stance - but only in rhetoric.

"The whole intention of the ANC 8 January statement was an attempt to try to copy and therefore undermine the radical and militant programme of the EFF," said EFF acting spokesperson Lehlohonolo Fana Mokoena in a statement. "Those who copy us should do so with care because we will always expose fake imitations that are not genuine."

The statement was issued in reaction to President Jacob Zuma's 8 January statement made in Cape Town on the 103rd anniversary of the ANC's founding in which he declared that his party should recommit itself to the principles of the Freedom Charter.

Mokoena said "the EFF notes the attempts by... [Zuma] to restate the Freedom Charter as if it is the programme of the ANC, while all evidence is out there for all to see that the ANC has abandoned the Freedom Charter."

Mokoena said his party believed the policies of the ANC-driven National Development Plan, which it labelled as "neo-liberal, right wing and capitalist" were in opposition to the EFF's intentions and, as such, "an attempt by the ANC to imitate the radical programme of the EFF only through rhetoric will always be exposed as pure farce".

The EFF believed the ANC had "run out of ideas".

Earlier in the week, ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe said that the ruling party's anniversary was an opportunity for it to reclaim the Freedom Charter as the basis for its future plans.

"It is back to basics. This is the year of the Freedom Charter."

He said the ANC was emphasising its connection to the Freedom Charter, bacause "every Jack and Jill claims to be the custodian of the Freedom Charter these days."

Adopted in Kliptown, Soweto, on 26 June 1955, the Freedom Charter set out the core principles of the ANC and its then allies, and 40 years later helped to shape the Constitution. Meanwhile, the National Education Health & Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) said Zuma's speech proved the ANC was still committed to the Freedom Charter.

"This should see the people's movement reclaim the cherished people's document from a band of sanctimonious populists, who use it for their cheap demagoguery," said Nehawu spokesperson Sizwe Pamla in a statement.

"The Freedom Charter is the cornerstone that guides the policy and practices, and the strategy and tactics of the ANC."

The Democratic Alliance also weighed in on Zuma's comments about energy in which he said it would be an "apex priority".

"There is an urgent need to give independent power producers the opportunity to contribute electricity to the grid," said DA parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane in a statement.

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