Opinionista David Ka-Ndyalvan 26 June 2017

The power of Zille extinguishes EFF firebrand

Truth be told, the populist Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) is a tamed political party after the DA Federal Executive Council's decision on Helen Zille’s nostalgic colonial tweets. If you do not agree with me, consider the serious threats they made of ending cooperation with the DA should the outcomes of Zille’s disciplinary hearing retain her as the Premier of the Western Cape. Well the outcome was pronounced and not only unmasked the hypocrisy of the EFF but also showed the DA’s prowess in neutralising its political enemy.

The DA’s decision to keep Zille has left the EFF as a toothless political organisation with empty rhetoric and whose judgment is clouded by hatred for the oldest liberation movement in Africa. After a political backtrack on its cooperation with DA depending on the outcomes of Zille’s case and subsequent ill-informed justification that it is not in coalition with DA, one would be justified to conclude that the EFF is a confused and misleading party with its political relevance dependent on the character of the ANC. If you do not agree, you would do well to read the following.

In my previous article on Daily Maverick titled “Beyond 2019: A coalition government is a threat to South Africa’s economic recovery”, I suggested that EFF and other smaller parties are in coalition with the DA in some of the hung municipalities including the Tshwane metro, City of Johannesburg and Nelson Mandela Bay. Presumably buoyed by this understanding, EFF leader Julius Malema during press briefing on the 8th June 2017 threatened to withdraw EFF support for the DA in the municipal councils of these three metros if Zille was not removed as the Premier of the Western Cape over her colonial tweets.

When the reality that Zille would keep her premiership post struck, the EFF issued a statement that it was not in “coalition or alliance” with the DA instead of reassuring the public, especially its supporters, of its position which was pronounced during the June 8 press briefing by Malema. This was not only a missed opportunity for the EFF to show that it can be trusted with  public votes but it also raised two rhetorical questions: If the EFF wants the nation to believe that it is not in coalition with the DA, why did its motor-mouth leader warn that the EFF would withdraw its cooperation with the DA in the municipal councils? What do they call their political arrangement or understanding with DA?

I do not imagine any honourable and informed responses that could deny the fact that the EFF is in a coalition with the DA which effectively rendered the ANC out of power in the capital city and economic hub of South Africa (Tshwane and City of Johannesburg metros respectively). A cursory assessment of the cagey behaviour of the EFF leadership regarding its coalition with the DA would suggest deep levels of confusion on coalition politics within the party or a deliberate distortion of facts to mislead its supporters and the nation that it has no political relationship with the party perceived to represents the interests of white minority capital and apartheid beneficiaries at the expense of the majority of South Africans.

Given the EFF’s flamboyant politics and populism, I am more persuaded to believe that its leadership deliberately misled the nation, particularly the electorate, to save its skin for selling out and working with the DA, which if you look carefully at its values and policies, does not promote a transformation agenda for the lives of the previously disadvantaged black South Africans other than advocating for equal opportunities irrespective of race and gender as if the apartheid colonialism which benefitted the few primarily on the basis of race and gender never existed.

Like it or not, this will go down in the books of history and no amount of political spin from Mbuyiseni “Bae” Ndlozi could save the EFF from having,  once upon a time after being driven by anger and hatred of the congress movement, entered into a political arrangement with the DA irrespective of their diverse views on key transformation issues such as land redistribution and macro-economic policy. And this arrangement amounted to a DA-led coalition government in Tshwane, City of Johannesburg and Nelson Mandela metros. It is no wonder Juju was invited to speak during the event of South African Property Owners Association in Cape Town. He is no longer a white minority capital boogeyman, thanks to Zille. Get it? DM

David Vakalisa ka-Ndyalvan is an ANC member at Akaso Branch and he writes in his personal capacity.

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