Reports of about a dozen supposed Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) members or voters protesting against their party outside Joburg’s city hall yesterday called for a rather large pinch of salt.
Sections of social media were also playing host to the complaint by some party members that the EFF was somehow selling them out by agreeing to vote with the DA for the election of the speaker, mayor and other senior positions in the new mayoral committee.
If these really are EFF supporters angry at the party’s leadership over the decision to side with what they call the “racist DA”, they are displaying a level of political naivety that the relatively young people leading their party are not. The EFF spokesperson was particularly annoyed by it all, accusing those behind the campaign of being members of the ANC in disguise – but of course that is mere speculation. It could be that the EFF has indeed disappointed some of their supporters.
But what did they expect Julius Malema and company to do? Were they to not side with either the DA or the ANC, elections would probably have had to be held again, with a very clear risk of the ANC going all out to stage a comeback in the province and win a clear majority.
If they wanted the EFF to choose the ANC despite the ruling party’s refusal to give in to opposition parties’ very clear demands for President Jacob Zuma to first be removed from power, the EFF would have instantly been a neutered force, and the stuff of mockery indeed.
An EFF-DA agreement is certainly a very odd marriage, but it makes political sense. How long it will actually last is something we have no precedent for in this country, but it offered the EFF the best solution for the difficult decision of what needed to be done, and done right now.
If Zuma goes in future, however, then all bets are off over who the EFF will choose.
Julius Malema started his party partly in anger at the ANC, and particularly at Zuma. Anyone who voted for him without understanding that basic fact possibly needed to read all that invisible fine print at the end of the party’s manifesto and constitution.