If EFF gets power it will ruin SA, starting with a gun to the ...

Ideas

If EFF gets power it will ruin SA, starting with a gun to the ANC’s head

It merely has to ramp up victimhood to find favour with desperate voters, then squeeze power out of coalitions

Columnist
Julius Malema will demand concessions at national level in the same manner that he demanded concessions from Clicks.
Bad Juju Julius Malema will demand concessions at national level in the same manner that he demanded concessions from Clicks.
Image: Reuters/Sumaya Hisham

It is very easy to dismiss the Economic Freedom Fighters’ violent protests as just a crude attempt to catch votes with a made-up militant stance.

Remember that the municipal elections are just a year away. The EFF did extremely well in 2016, helping unseat the ANC – at least for a while – in Johannesburg and Tshwane while delivering a bloody nose in other municipalities such as Polokwane. To improve on its consistent growth in the national elections in 2014 and 2019, it needs to maintain a public profile – and a militant one at that.

Yet getting a few hundred thousand extra votes is not the way the EFF will get to power. It is going to ride the ANC to power. It is going to hold a gun to the ANC’s head – just as it held a gun to Clicks’s head this past week – and jump on its back and get everything it wants. How is it going to do that? Let me tell you.

We know what the EFF is and what it will be like as a governing entity. Its actions when taking on Clicks’s racist advert, its calls for violence such as its top three leaders tweeting messages like “ATTACK” last week, tell us that the use of violence is not something it would find unpalatable. It adores violence, it romanticises it. This is a party that thinks that Robert Mugabe, a man who ruled by violence and repression, was a hero.

The party’s lackadaisical attitude towards corruption, as evidenced by its protection of Floyd Shivambu on the VBS Bank allegations, also tells us that, should it ascend to power, it will be nothing but another version of the corrupt ANC.

The party’s intimidation, harassment and physical violation of a journalist’s right to report freely – and its leader Mbuyiseni Ndlozi’s support for the violation of a woman journalist – tells you everything about the EFF’s stance on media freedom.

The ANC will accede to demands on land reform and redistribution, the central bank and several others that the EFF will put forward.

There is no secret to the EFF. It speaks of gender rights and violates them at the drop of a hat; it speaks of peaceful protest and applauds as its supporters break windows at Clicks; it speaks of clean governance when it is Jacob Zuma allegedly doing the looting, but keeps quiet when it is Shivambu who is allegedly doing the thieving.

An EFF in power is the road to ruin. Don’t be fooled by the PhDs and the parading of academic gowns every so often. The truth of the matter is that the EFF would turn National Treasury into its own piggy bank; it would introduce ruinous economic policies that would benefit a small coterie and impoverish the majority; and it would lock up anyone who stands up against it. In essence, once you remove the faux militancy, the EFF is nothing but the ANC Youth League that Jacob Zuma encouraged and installed at the league’s conference in May 2008. Even the elections of that conference were rigged to ensure that Malema won.

All this does not mean that the voter can see this. The economic crisis that SA is going through right now means that every politician who can stand up and blame whites, “white monopoly capital”, businesspeople, foreigners, the global economic system or whatever scapegoat they can find, will find some favour. Our people are desperate. The EFF merely has to ramp up the victimhood and it will find some favour.

The EFF is going to grow its support base in 2021’s local elections and in the 2024 national elections. However, it cannot win national elections outright.

That does not matter for the EFF. Power in SA politics, in my view, will not arise from clear victories. Instead, a weakened ANC will need to cobble together alliances if it is to continue to run wealthy (for now) municipalities such as Joburg or Tshwane. Small parties will disintegrate. The ANC will need to go to the EFF to build a governing coalition.

That is power for Malema. He will demand concessions at national level in the same manner that he demanded concessions from Clicks, by literally holding a gun to the company’s head. The ANC will accede to demands on land reform and redistribution, the central bank and several others that the EFF will put forward. The choice will be stark: agree or lose power.

The ANC’s weakness is that it is drunk on power. It does not know how to survive without it. Look at how it has been obliterated in the Western Cape, where it will never recover. Look how close to disintegration it is in Gauteng, where it is in imminent danger of losing power. It is weak and will give in to the EFF.