ROAD TO 2024 ELECTIONS
Malema tells Red Berets to run a clean campaign to beat ‘failed’ ANC
Experts have cast doubt on Julius Malema’s claims that the EFF is the ‘government in waiting’, but believe the party stands a chance to join coalitions in hung provinces.
The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has once again dubbed itself as a “government in waiting”, with leader Julius Malema calling for political tolerance and a clean campaign as South Africa prepares for the 2024 general elections, set to take place in less than 10 months.
Political experts, however, believe the party, which has contested only two general elections, stands little or no chance of governance on a national level. This is supported by two recent polls that suggest the party would get 17% or 18% of the national vote if an election were held tomorrow.
Read more in Daily Maverick: Fractious ANC Gauteng on a go-slow to cut ties with EFF after poll support rises for Red Berets
The EFF won 10.8% of the national vote in 2019, up from 6.35% in 2014.
Political analyst Dr Ntsikelelo Breakfast pointed to a lack of diversity among the party’s electoral base and said, “It is practically impossible for the EFF to move from 12% to 50+1%, it does not make sense. I also don’t think they will remove the DA as the official opposition.”
Another analyst, Ongama Mtimka, voiced similar sentiments, saying that should the party do extremely well, it would garner around 16% of ballots cast.
“Within the provinces, one can estimate that the party may have better chances of being a part of a coalition and no chance at all nationally.”
‘A clean campaign’
Malema is, however, convinced that not only will the ANC lose its majority, but it will be relegated to the opposition benches as was the case in some metropolitan areas during the 2016 and 2021 local government elections.
“A missed opportunity of 1994 is about to be realised in 2024,” Malema said during a meeting with the party’s Gauteng Ground Forces at Ellis Park Arena on Sunday, 5 November.
“We can say here without fear of contradictions that … the ruling party, a failed former liberation movement, will … face a resounding electoral defeat in the 2024 elections.”
The venue, which accommodates 6,300 people, was packed to capacity, with the audience consisting of mostly young, black EFF members. There was also a sprinkling of coloured people and Indians in the audience.
The meeting was meant to pave the way for how the party’s representatives and volunteers would carry themselves when they head to communities to canvass for support. At the heart of Malema’s address was a call for volunteers to have political tolerance and comply with the Electoral Commission of SA’s (IEC’s) rules and regulations.
“We’re going to run a clean campaign. No Ground Force must threaten anyone, particularly women who support other political parties, including threatening other Fighters. You can’t be a Ground Force if you threaten others. No Ground Force must remove or destroy any property belonging to another political party, or remove their posters. Don’t do that.
“Fighters, don’t disrupt meetings of other political parties, don’t prevent people from doing their things. You can’t stop anyone from doing door-to-door or campaigning in your ward.”
With unemployment levels skyrocketing, Malema warned the representatives against displaying their wealth on social media platforms, saying this would make no difference in the lives of those they represent.
Daily Maverick has previously reported on Malema’s lavish lifestyle, allegedly aided by money from the looted VBS bank.
Read more in Daily Maverick: Eight Key Takeaways from ‘Julius Malema’s Time of Spending Dangerously’ story
“A Ground Force does not display opulence in the face of poverty at all times. It does not matter how beautiful your car is, do not display opulence. Always be grounded and be humble.
“Help each other, help communities without expecting in return. Help communities without expecting votes, go and help them genuinely,” Malema said.
He also wants representatives not to spread lies and rumours about their opponents, not to consume drugs and alcohol while doing party work, to adhere to all IEC rules and for potential voters not to be forced into voting for or donating to the party.
Malema warned that a disaster was waiting to happen in Gauteng, a province with huge potential, which he said had been mismanaged for 30 years.
Should the party be voted to govern, it would improve service delivery, tackle unemployment and intensify crime prevention efforts in crime-ridden provinces like Gauteng, the EFF leader said. DM