It’s now an open secret that the ANC is cosying up to former rival Julius Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), as the ruling party vows to work closely with the opposition parties.
ANC Luthuli House this week confirmed that it would work with the opposition parties and vote with the EFF if necessary to realise its transformation agenda. This comes in the wake of this week’s move by the ANC to support an EFF motion on the expropriation of land without compensation in parliament.
The two were sworn enemies and the EFF would oppose anything that came from the ANC in and outside of parliament. But the issue of land expropriation brought them together after years of standing in opposite corners since EFF leader Malema was expelled from the ruling party.
Asked if the ANC could claim moral high ground over the EFF regarding the land expropriation, the ANC’s newly appointed head of elections, Fikile Mbalula, said they would co-operate with the opposition to redress imbalances of the past.
“The land question is a historical injustice. It [land expropriation motion] is a victory for the people of South Africa. Radical economic transformation means speeding up land redistribution, among other things,” Mbalula said.
He said the ANC would not claim moral high ground over the EFF on this issue, but it was implementing a resolution reached at the party’s national conference held at Nasrec in December.
“We don’t prevaricate, our conference was decisive on radical economic transformation,” he said.
Even if the issue had emanated from the EFF, the ANC would have voted with the party had the matter been brought up earlier.
“We are handling this matter as mandated by our conference,” Mbalula said.
This view was echoed by party deputy national organiser Dakota Lekgoete and others who formed a panel that addressed a media briefing at Luthuli House ANC head office yesterday.
Lekgoete said the ANC’s decision to co-operate with the EFF was important to them as the ANC.
“In line with the Constitution, it is in our interest to work with the opposition. We have agreed the country is a priority,” said Lekgoete.
He said as a party of unity and renewal and to regain the lost ground to build the ANC, the party leadership would humble themselves to the people.
Political analyst Somadoda Fikeni attributed the ANC-EFF cooperation as part of the political realignment. He said this was the beginning of the move away from the DA-led opposition coalition towards a new alliance of black parties based on various issues, especially the land question and radical economic transformation to address historic imbalances that affected the black majority.
Another analyst, Dumisani Hlophe, said the ANC would rather align with the EFF due to the commonality in their policies. He said the EFF pressure would force the ANC to radicalise its policies.
Meanwhile, the ANC deployed top guns to its head office in preparation for the 2019 election. Secretary-general Ace Magashule announced former KwaZulu-Natal chairperson Senzo Mchunu as national organiser, Lekgoete as his deputy, Mbalula as head of elections and Zizi Kodwa as head of the office of the ANC president, Cyril Ramaphosa, at Luthuli House.
Both Mchunu and Jessie Duarte denied claims that Mchunu was deployed in order to counter Magashule and Duarte, who were seen as former president Jacob Zuma’s allies.
“We see no stampede in how we do our work here at the head office, we see ourselves as a team,” Mchunu said. Duarte concurred, saying there was no competition among those deployed at Luthuli House.
Former ANC presidents Thabo Mbeki, Jacob Zuma and former deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe would be invited to participate in the membership mobilisation and to perform certain tasks in the run-up to the 2019 election.