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‘Falling apart’ and the EFF are miles apart


Dr Maruping Phepheng is an author and scholar of the African immigrant and human mobility. His Twitter handle is @MP_Author.

Everybody should feel free to criticise any political party. But before you exercise your right to criticise, know that you are not the only one entitled to it.

Max du Preez wrote an article recently where he made public that “(t)he EFF’s wheels came off a little bit last week”.

He spoke, among other things, in the article titled Is the EFF falling apart under pressure? about the Nugent Commission into SARS and the recent press conference held by the EFF, boldly asserting that “(t)he EFF leadership clearly has no respect for free speech and a free media”. He is free, like all of us, to say these things and whatever else he feels he must speak about. It’s a free country.

But one has to be consumed with inexplicable fright and helplessness at the imminent growth and presence of the EFF in the political landscape to be an irrepressible scaremonger, much like Du Preez does in that article when he asserts that the EFF is a “party whose attacks on white South Africans are a central pillar of its strategy”.

If you really believe that a party that is essentially credited with thrusting the land expropriation without compensation debate on the table is a “party whose attacks on white South Africans are a central pillar of its strategy”, then perhaps your paranoia “about perpetuating white privilege” is true.

The reality is different, and simple. First, at all times, whenever the leadership of the EFF is engaged in debates that I am aware of, the interest of black people is at the centre of their articulation. The reason why this posture is demonised as racist is that, one, those who “have” are simply not willing to share, and two, those who “have” and are not willing to share are white. If this posture means to you “an attack on white South Africans” then you, and not the EFF and its leadership, have a problem. Because the EFF is patently not “allowed” to call anyone racist in public or, in the case of black journalists, a “house nigger” when such people exude at least to the EFF racist and/or house nigger traits, what then are these people supposed to be called? Those among us who are freer than the EFF, would you please help?

Du Preez may have “watched the press conference on eNCA” when Julius Malema complained about the station’s bias, but something tells me he – Du Preez – is clever enough to know that, first, Malema was obviously aware that eNCA was covering the presser; second, that Malema was in fact referring to the obvious favouritism that we see on that news station. The favouritism has to do with showing President Cyril Ramaphosa’s face every night on their segment called As It Happens, even when they interview leaders of other parties, and even when the discussion is not strictly related to Ramaphosa or his administration. This is not fair, obviously, and it must bother all political parties, including the ANC itself.

Yes, Malema named journalists during his last press conference, but to say he named them simply because such journalists have been “critical of the EFF” is duplicitous and patently false. In the press conference that Max du Preez watched on eNCA, Malema, more than once, said that if and once a journalist “descends into the arena”, that journalist has chosen to involve themselves in politics, and that the EFF will treat them like they treat other politicians. Malema, in that same press conference, added openly that they welcome criticism, but it should be fair and based on fact. What is wrong with that, bafethu?

Perhaps even more revealing of who Du Preez really stands for is the assertion that, simply because blacks have decided to wake up and organise themselves to fight and collapse a system that has sub-humanised and rendered them landless “outsiders” in their own country, “the EFF is playing a seriously destructive role in our politics”. This kind of thinking is in itself destructive because it suggests that the EFF must stop what it is doing, and that is to insist on its seven non-negotiable cardinal pillars whose purpose is simply to equalise the playing field for every human being in this land – black and white.

Let the matters of donations from dodgy businessmen and SARS and so forth be investigated (and written about by journalists if they want). Nobody, including the EFF, is saying those must not be investigated or written about.

At the end of the day, everybody should feel free to criticise any political party. But before you exercise your right to criticise, know that you are not the only one entitled to it. I mean, if you expect Malema (or anyone) to take criticism like a man, why is it insulting and vulgar and intimidation and accusatory when it comes to you? DM


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