What’s in a name ? The answer is simple. Everything!!
The name Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and its accompanying logo is of great significance and reflects the identity and intent of Julius Malema and his band of brothers.
The EFF is registered as a political party and will contend the 2014 general election in South Africa, but their chosen identity and modus operandi fall outside the ambit of a legitimate political party within a democracy. It is evident from the movement’s name that they assumed the identity of an economic liberation movement rather than a democratic political formation. As a liberation movement you can expect the EFF to operate outside the boundaries of a typical political party. Civil protest, confrontation, racial polarisation, violence and unconstitutional tactics will mark their campaign. Their logo affirms this identity. It shows a spear in a clenched fist, a typical symbol of violent resistance. The background of a mining shaft at the southern part of the African Continent represents the economy and the movement’s traditional support base.
The EFF is the first liberation movement on South African soil since the first democratic election in 1994. The EFF’s intent is to wrestle the economic power from the ANC’s control. Increased conflict between the ANC and the EFF is a reality.
On their Facebook page the EFF describes their cause as a radical Marxist-Leninist Fanonian Economic Emancipation Movement, which fights for the economic rights of all Africans. A grassroots formation and Vanguard of the Protest Movement.
On 6 November 2013 the EFF stated on their Facebook page “that all privately owned land in this country is stolen land through the violent crimes of colonization and apartheid. The land belongs to the people; it is a collective social property that must never be for sale, whether the private owners are South Africans or Foreigners.” This statement is not only in contradiction of the South African constitution but fuels racial polarisation and undermines stability and democracy.
How the government deals with the EFF is of equal importance to all South Africans, white landowners and foreign investors. As former president of the ANC Youth League, Malema was bound by the ethics of the ANC, but his hunger for power, political ambitions and conflict with President Zuma and ANC’s Executive, led to his expulsion from the party.
As an intelligent opportunist he re-invented himself and based on his own power base formed the controversial EFF. He managed to find a political niche by focussing on Black economic emancipation.
His policy regarding white South Africans and the sustainability of his other policies will be tested by time. Julius Malema and the EFF might constitute the single and largest change within democratic South Africa.