According to the Sunday Times, Julius Malema has boasted that the EFF is in charge, and that the party in red has the president right where it wants them.
This comes after ANC Chairman Gwede Mantashe suggested that farmers be limited to owning at most 12,000 hectares.
This flies in the face of Ramaphosa’s pledge that expropriation should not effect the economy. The ANC’s embrace of land expropriation without compensation appears to be a result of how its share of the vote dropped to a record low in the 2016 municipal elections.
While the ANC denies taking the EFF’s lead on the land issue, It is the EFF’s core economic policy and the ANC’s actions have only come after the red berets hit the national stage.
I was refreshing myself on Julius Malema’s history while writing this article, because expropriation is one thing he’s been pretty consistent on since he was the president of the ANC Youth League.
Anyway here is a quote from political scientist Dirk Kotze talking to the Telegraph, “Malema without the ANC is nothing… The tradition and the history of the ANC, he needs that in order to be able to make his point. Without that he’s very much isolated.”
That wasn’t exactly the best prediction ever made in the realm of politics.
Okay, so why is the ANC so afraid of the EFF, and so nonchalant about the much larger DA? Well the reason is because the EFF for all their flaws, and there are many, isn’t a party you vote for in the hopes of having a “strong opposition”.
The gamble that Ramaphosa is making here is that come the land debate in Parliament the EFF does what it has historically done in Nelson Mandela Bay – essentially disrupted proceedings to the point where they cannot go on, thus meaning every time the EFF tries to get rid of Athol Trollip, it has ended up being the factor that has saved him.
If the EFF can be shown to be fundamentally incapable of maintaining alliances sufficient to actually follow through on its stated goals, then people will ask themselves why they should vote for it, or at least that’s the hope.
This is a dangerous game though – because the ANC is looking weak and the EFF is looking effective right now. This could end with Malema growing his party and one day ending up as president.
- Picture of Cyril Ramaphosa courtesy of GCIS on Flickr