Game of thrones: The EFF has spoken!

2016-08-17 13:53

The highly contested August 3 elections brought about tectonic shifts in the political landscape of South Africa. Although ANC achieved overall majority on a national level. There were a number of hung municipalities which has resulted in many a politician needing to eat humble pie following certain utterances about not needing other parties.

True to form, the EFF continued with their disruptive presence within the South African political arena by holding their press conference in a place other parties don’t...a township. This in itself was statement of the party’s grounding and connection with the grassroots. The DA conducted their press conference in Sandton :) ...no need for further commentary on this.

No marriages of convenience

Even though a lot of speculation has been doing the rounds of which parties will emerge as bedfellows, the EFF decided to upset the cart for many by deciding to not enter into any coalitions. Given they are building up their brand and their ideological standpoint is on the far left, any ‘marriage of convenience’ with either the ANC or DA would have left them diluted.

Being a development economist- I identify with the matters which the EFF places on the table, although we differ on the manner in which these would need to be addressed. As an example my stance on land ownership; it should be reflective of the demographics of the nation- but the land should be in the hands of those who will use it productively. All people should have access to affordable quality education.

FrEE  EFF

By not entering into any coalitions, the EFF has ensured it doesn’t have any albatross hanging on their necks. No special arrangements or committees would need to be set up to maintain the coalitions which leaves them free to pursue the mandate they have been pushing for. The EFF has maintained they will continue with the fight they have been taking to pursue the achievement of ‘Economic Freedom in their lifetime.’

Collective responsibility

When the ANC had started coalition talks with EFF they really had to put their ‘tails between their legs’ as there has been a lot of vitriol thrown around. EFF however had certain conditions which were obvious the ANC wouldn’t comply with. Amongst these was the need for the ANC to recall Jacob Zuma- talk about de ja vu :). [I will pause and do a rendition of MJ’s  “Do you remember the time...” in reference to the Mbeki ousting. What goes around definitely comes around.]

Back to the issue at hand- the Commander in Chief (CiC) of the EFF in his statement made the following remarks, “...they (ANC) said they take a collective responsibility yet the Constitutional Court said Zuma must take individual responsibility...since they took a collective responsibility they must be punished as a collective. The ANC had a choice to choose between Zuma and the Metros, once again the ANC chose Zuma...”

Africa is replete with issues around the cult of personality and one can safely say, this has been the undoing of the ANC during these elections. Rather than salvaging ‘Brand ANC’ by coming out against Number One, this lack of censure by the organisation has resulted in the collective punishment which the voters subjected them at the polls- and now the EFF during coalition negotiations.

“Arrogant protector of white monopoly capital”

Julius Malema did not mince his words when it came to answering to perceptions (true or not) within the public domain that DA is a party bent on protecting white capital. The party is not yet at a place of shaking this off their back. Although they have made inroads into previously ANC dominated areas, this was not necessarily because voters have seen ‘’the brilliant work they are doing in the Western Cape” (as they sell themselves) it was also due to a protest vote away from the ANC.

CiC said that the difference between the ANC and DA is that although, “...they are both protectors of white capital- the ANC is a corrupt organisation which subscribes to kleptocracy unlike the DA.” He further threw daggers at the organisation by saying, “ANC is not only corrupt but also arrogant.”

Lesson to the DA and the EFF itself: a person and/or organisation needs to constantly keep itself in check otherwise in growing large they open themselves up to being arrogant. It is such arrogance which has led to the ANC not taking a stance against President Zuma, thinking that the polity will be forgiving at the polls. Everyone in SA must understand that for the ruling party to get less than 50% it means they have done something extremely wrong. You can’t therefore say they must go back through the backdoor,” said the CiC.

New political landscape

From the time the EFF stepped onto the scene, there has been increased awareness of the work being done by parliamentarians. The parliamentary channel has always been around but I personally used to never tune in...I think I speak for many others as well :).

Post the Local Government Elections (#LGE2016) South Africa’s politics will never be the same again. I look forward to a shaking up of how things will turn out on the service delivery front. Service delivery should not be something people have to “toyi-toyi” about in order for it to happen- public servants must deliver the service to the public i.e. to just do what they are appointed and paid to do.

I look forward to a shaking up of cronyism which had become entrenched in different municipalities as people call for increased accountability. One major gripe I have is the issue of monies being returned to treasury unspent because of lack of adequate leadership...while issues on the ground persist.

Let us make this country work!

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