Malema’s EFF: is this a political suicide or a step in the right direction?

2013-07-12 09:54

Looking back at the history of the ANC, no prior President of the ANC Youth League has ever generated a strong sense of sensation and emotions like Julius Malema. Not even the contentious Peter Mokaba, famously known for his use of the slogan "Kill the boer, kill the farmer" during the 1990s.

The ANCYL grabbed headlines for several years, particularly under Malema. Without any fear of contradiction, most would agree that Malema is detested and ridiculed by a majority of white South Africans, people from minority groups and by some black elites.

Nearly as aggressive as summoning the Freedom Charter to justify his previous lavish lifestyle harvested from a career claiming to represent the poor masses. Yes, the so called fat cats! Malema sought to represent a frustrated faction of the black elite and middle class in these battles, and sought to build a black working class base by posturing as a radical fighter, in order to get a place on the ANC’s powerful list. Fair enough, his ideologies hold water to some extent because diverting focus from the truth will merely prolong the debate and the inescapable explosion from the majority of the country who still live under less desirable conditions. On that note, perhaps it would be worthwhile to reference what we have seen in other African states, particularly the case of our neighbouring Zimbabwe when white farmers were driven off their land by supporters of Mugabe’s Zanu-PF as well as the seizure of assets in the business community when they failed to stick to government regulations.

Irksome as it may sound, Malema’s ideologies and policy perspectives cannot be divorced from the thinking of the less privileged South Africans, particularly the youth whom he often advocates for. It is also true that among the black youth he has become a much admired protagonist with his crude disobedience and arrogance being an almost perfect representation of their aspirations and fears.

With all of that said, this brings me to the formation of his new political party - Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) - which aims to contest the 2014 elections. It has attracted a lot of attention in mainstream and social media with the impression that he is unstoppable. Certainly many could be pardoned for having made the assumption, that his future in South African politics has dealt a major blow by his expulsion from the ANC and his prolonged state of limbo in the political wasteland.


One good reason he can heavily rely on for EFF to succeed would be to harbour on the fact that the middle-class and jobless youths are developing a fear for a majority ruled South Africa. This fear being they will not prosper as they should with the current ANC leadership. “Anti-Neoliberal” measures such as the nationalization of mines and banks are a critical key to the enrichment and empowerment of these two wings of class. Something Malema’s EFF can bank on.

Another point to ponder on is that given Malema’s fair support within the youth, it lately appears that a lot of the young ones are starting to revisit their loyalty to the ANC as a result of a growing resentment for its leader President Zuma and his disreputable practices. They have been loyal to the ANC for far too long but its president is not even shy to boldly announce that he is friends with shaddy characters that operate in the corners of darkness. Even those who were never fans of Malema are starting to recognise and sympathise with him, reason being that it appears as if he is being targeted for daring to challenge some within the ANC in his call for radical policies. This gives him momentum.

On the downside however, he is followed by a trail of corruption charges as well as his tax liability shenanigans. Some could also argue that his decision to form a new party is mostly informed by his personal frustrations and financial problems. Certainly this brings some level of instability and uncertainty in running a political party. People are not so receptive of a leader who is in and out of court. And on that note, political parties need money to fulfil their mandates. It is hard to see where he will draw enough proceeds for EFF to survive this seemingly challenging political space. When he was in the ANC, he was often flourished with large amounts of money as people stood to benefit from his influential position. But that honour is gone and it doesn’t seem like his potential sponsors and donors will have anything to derive from their contributions.

So is Malema’s EFF an alternative voice of South Africans who are fed up with living without hope that things will never change for the better? Can we dismiss Malema as a buffoon? Is EFF just another group of “Expelled Frustrated Fools” or genuinely “Economic Freedom Fighters”? You be the judge!!


AB praises selfless skipper

2010-11-21 18:15

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