The EFF finds the ANC more attractive as a strategic ally to work with than the DA but a permanent merger or a formal agreement between the two parties is unthinkable, political analysts have said.
Political analyst Dumisani Hlophe said the real contestation in the 2019 election would be between the EFF and DA over which of them would be the official opposition.
“That is where all this is going,” he said.
“The ANC strategically needs a stronger EFF than a stronger DA. If the ANC wants to reclaim the metros, they have to begin to play ball with the EFF. The biggest strength of the ANC is not the presence of the DA because the pressure does not come from the DA but from the EFF,” Hlophe said.
He added the EFF was likely to work with the ANC on many issues but it would not bring itself into an alliance or coalition. They will retain their autonomy but put more pressure on the ANC to deliver on its transformation agenda.
The EFF knew that it had not grown to the level where it could take over state power or be an alternative to the ANC, but would use what little muscle it had to force the ANC to do things it would not do under normal circumstances.
“The EFF will be a mosquito in the ear of the ANC,” Hlophe said.
The University of the Free State’s head of the sociology department, Dr Sethulego Matebesi, said the ANC and EFF had found common ground on the question of land expropriation without compensation. As the EFF was ahead of the ANC on this issue, the ruling party has been forced to jump on the bandwagon.
“The EFF sees the DA as being too distant to them on land expropriation. For me this is a fundamental issue that the ANC has to address and it had to align with the EFF that has already got it on their agenda. They have found common ground,” Matebesi said.
He cautioned, however, that the EFF could be playing a political game because it knew that it would be political suicide for it to have a formal and permanent agreement with the ANC on any matter.
“I see a very informal relationship between them. I don’t see them merging or forming an alliance because that would have a lot of negative consequences for the EFF as that would anger some of its members who resigned from the ANC.
“I don’t see them going blindly into any cooperation with the ANC. Rather, they might vote together on certain issues,” Matebesi said.
Hlophe said the EFF strategy was to use the ANC by forcing it to adopt radical approach policies and act expeditiously on land redistribution.
“The EFF would rather become a pressure group in parliament to make the ANC deliver on a radical transformation agenda rather than them an alternative to government.
“They forced Zuma to pay back the Nkandla money and they would use their six percent vote to make the ANC act on the land expropriation without compensation, and there is more in their bag,” Hlophe said.