One may imagine that, in their heart of hearts, members of the EFF feel that they belong to ANC and that members of the latter feel a certain kinship towards the EFF. In July 2013, while launching his party, Malema said “our enemy number one is white monopoly capital, and it’s supported by the DA”.
South African politics present a unique challenge for those inclined to Pan Africanist, revolutionary or, you could say, leftist politics.
The face of such brand of politics has been the African National Congress, the party of Albert Luthuli, the Mbekis, Nelson Mandela, among other historical luminaries.
And it is the party of Jacob Zuma, too.
Zuma is the current president of the party and country.
He is a controversial man, whose personal and executive decisions, most of which we do not have to repeat here, have largely polarised South African society and the revolutionary party.
He has also, by extension, polarised opinion among foreigners with an interest in South Africa.
One thing should be said from the outset, though: that South African media, which is in the hands of minority white interests, is rabidly anti-black majority, anti-ANC and therefore anti-President Zuma.
It’s not even cartoonist/satirist Zapiro only.
Much of the media is simply racist and their attitude is reflected in their editorial, which includes sometimes, portraying President Zuma in the most racist terms such as depicting him, an African, as having sex organs bigger than the brain.
You recoil at such portraiture.
The African in you fights for President Zuma.
Besides, it is known that such personal attacks are part of bigger political stakes in this country that is about the last haven of colonial whites in Africa — whatever they say about democracy.
Enter the Economic Freedom Fighters.
The EFF are led by one Julius Malema and both are products of the ANC.
Let’s say accidental products, much like unwanted or illegitimate children.
However, one could be more clinical, indeed scientific, in pointing out the fact that all movements have seeds (did we not mention children, above?) of their own destruction due to inherent internal contradictions.
The EFF came into being in 2013 following the expulsion of Malema, a former leader of the ANC Youth League, and a band of sidekicks.
They went on to win close to a million votes in the national polls last year, a remarkable feat that saw them overshadowing more seasoned campaigners in opposition politics.
The EFF is presenting problems to the ANC, and this is more than the heckling and disruptions they have staged in the country’s august house of Parliament, the latest of which was a fortnight ago, during the State of the Nation Address by President Zuma.
That incident presented a poignant opportunity to be torn between two poles.
Would you, a follower of African liberation politics, applaud the heckling, disruption and disrespecting of ANC’s president?
But then, the same president strikes one as not very exemplary, and greatest of all, does not seem too keen a custodian of the liberation ethos and aspirations.
And what kind of animal is EFF; what is its anatomy?
You realise that it is not an illegitimate child, but some fine progeny.
Here is why: the anatomy of the EFF appears, as indeed is expressed, to be derived from the original chromosomes of the liberation movement of which ANC is part.
In comes something called the Freedom Charter, a code that ANC swore to implement, which it is perceived, largely correctly, half-heartedly.
So Malema, after the histrionics of the SONA, make a point to bore holes into the presentation by President Zuma using the reckoning of the Freedom Charter.
He tells us that nothing President Zuma “said connects Government Project to the Peoples Manifesto and Liberation Programme, the Freedom Charter.”
ANC has not delivered the Freedom Charter because, “since dispossession by Colonisers, it looks like SA belongs to white people only.
They own everything and control our lives and the lives of politicians of the ruling party.”
This is despite the fact that, the Freedom Charter says “the mineral wealth beneath the soil, the banks and monopoly industries shall be transferred to the ownership of the people as a whole”.
In fact, notes Malema, instead of advocating about such transfer of means of production as banks, President Zuma complains about banking fees!
“You never said anything about the transfer of Mines and Minerals to the people, but referred the Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development Act because white monopoly capital in the form of TOTAL and Exxon Mobil said they do not agree with the Act,” said Malema.
He talks about homelessness, which affect 15 percent of South Africans finding abode in slums; he talks about landlessness of the people and criticises government proposal on 12 000 ha limit, which, interestingly would see a township like Soweto being owned by two people according to that formula.
Malema says against the spirit of the Freedom Charter, the government “killed” miners at Marikana.
“It also voted for the brutal killing of Maummar Gaddafi in collusion with imperialist forces in collusion with imperialist forces,” says Malema.
What is more, Malema, despite enjoining the ANC, or rather castigating it for failure, to implement the Freedom Charter, actually patents the code from the time he was in ANC youth leadership.
He also openly identifies with Zimbabwe’s revolutionary programmes and its leader, Robert Mugabe.
Now, this makes the whole South African political narrative interesting.
One has a sense that the EFF is ANC in red overalls.
They are the radical side of the revolutionary party that is either too cautious, incompetent, or cowardly.
They have been touted as the “left of left”.
Meanwhile, there are reports indicating that there have been talks between the EFF and ANC with a view to bringing back the former into the tent.
Mozambique has been suggested as the venue of the latest of such meetings with cash transactions possibly taking place.
One should not be surprised if the same reunion comes to pass, for better or worse.
There appears to be few fundamental differences between the EFF and the ANC.
One may imagine that, in their heart of hearts, members of the EFF feel that they belong to the ANC and that members of the latter feel a certain kinship towards the EFF.
In July 2013, while launching his party, Malema said “our enemy number one is white monopoly capital, and it’s supported by the DA”.
In his response to SONA last year, Malema indicated that he wanted a radical approach which the leadership had failed to execute.
“You, Mr President, are afraid of white people,” he famously noted.
“You don’t have what it takes to lead the struggle for economic emancipation of the black majority particularly Africans. You are extremely scared of white people, particularly white monopoly capital. You have in the past 20 years defended the privileges of white minority and continued with the exploitation and exclusion of the oppressed black majority.”
Malema is ANC.
Perhaps Zuma is EFF.
There is a thin line dividing the two.
For now, it would seem the biggest problem lies in the personalities of Jacob Zuma and Julius Malema.
That is why it continues to challenge one to read the politics on the supposed dichotomy of the ruling and opposition party.