Setumo Stone | The EFF masterstroke

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EFF president Julius Malema during a rally. Photo: Tebogo Letsie/City Press/File
EFF president Julius Malema during a rally. Photo: Tebogo Letsie/City Press/File


When he brags about his political genius, EFF leader Julius Malema certainly riles. Soon enough it comes back to bite him, especially when his party fails to win a single ward in by-elections.

It is easy for critics to remind him that he leads a small party that consistently fails to crack the 10% voter support ceiling. His party only wins elections on Twitter, right?

But even his staunchest foes would be hard pressed not to praise his astuteness after Monday’s two Gauteng metro mayoral votes. Let’s break it down.

READ: ANC councillors help vote in EFF speaker, despite having outright majority

On Monday, the blue party, the DA, got all the mayors it wanted in the Ekurhuleni and Johannesburg metros, but the glory went elsewhere – straight to Winnie Madikizela-Mandela House, the EFF’s new Gandhi Square headquarters. The governing ANC lost it all, and the red berets stole the show.

Think about it for a second. How does the DA even claim credit that it removed the ANC from power? It can’t, because it didn’t.

Was that not the ultimate prize for any opposition political party in the November 2021 municipal elections? Of course, it was.

This is why Monday ended with the EFF riding the wave that it had orchestrated the ANC’s demise in all metros in the country’s economic heartland. Who else could claim the credit? Yes, it was not alone, but who else?

READ: ANC loses power in major metros as opposition parties turn on them

The voting process also exposed the DA’s hypocrisy:

Was it not Helen Zille (the de facto leader) and John Steenhuisen who had screamed that they would not touch any council position that came with the EFF’s fingerprints?

But the DA’s new mayoral and speaker votes came signed and sealed with Malema’s fat kiss, and they happily grabbed the office keys.

There was always the option to decline the posts since the “lousy” EFF votes enabled it, right? But no, not the DA. At the first temptation to gain power it was suddenly okay to assume office, even when the keys were openly served on a red platter peppered with “fascist” votes. Wow.

But throwing principle out of the window on day one of governing is probably not the DA’s worst crime on the day.

Even more mind boggling was its audacity to field a mayoral candidate when it had no meaningful deal with anyone to get it over the line or even the required numbers to make it happen. It smacks of arrogance and power hunger. The desire to govern at all costs is unappealing and very ANC-esque.

READ: ANC readies for new role in Joburg opposition benches

But the DA will soon have its obvious shortcomings exposed. For every key decision the party needs to take, it will have to sit around the table with all opposition parties, including the EFF.

And that is not all. It would have to come to that table with a big begging bowl. Of course, it would cry wolf and claim that clean governance was being frustrated by the other parties’ list of demands. But isn’t that what it signed up for on Monday? There is no doubt that it is.

The DA’s victory parade will be short-lived because it is doomed to fail in all angles and, when that time comes, it will be the DA that takes the rap for failing to work with others, even after they helped to remove the ANC from power.

I could almost hear Malema say:

We gave you a fair chance and you failed.

As for the ANC, there are also lessons to learn, the most important being that the party is not entitled to govern. But it will not learn and, instead, will seek to hasten the DA’s downfall. The ANC knows what happens when there is a new sheriff, like when former DA mayor Herman Mashaba – now ActionSA president – took over the post in the 2016 municipal polls. Mashaba was scrutinising the books and opening a criminal case every day – sort of.

The ANC will soon be anxious and ready to go back to the negotiating table. Guess who it will find waiting.

READ: ANC loses control of Mpumalanga’s Lekwa municipality to community forum

By a long shot, the EFF’s original proposal that it shares the running of the three Gauteng metros – including the capital city in Tshwane – on equal terms with ActionSA and the ANC is not off the table. It is just being deferred.

The possible political backlash of voting with the DA would be less harmful to the EFF. They did it in 2016 anyway, so it’s not new.

Also, the ANC itself voted with the blue party in Parliament to remove Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane from office.


Setumo Stone 

Political Journalist

+27 11 713 9001
69 Kingsway Rd, Auckland Park
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