The ANC took aim at the Economic Freedom Fighters this week by attacking the political high ground Julius Malema’s organisation believes it has sole right to.
The announcement on land expropriation without compensation – made by President Cyril Ramaphosa – showed the ANC was capable of presenting a public image of radicalism equal to that of the EFF.
In the heated debates thaty followed, though, what was missed by many was the ANC’s direct appeal to the EFF’s main constituency, the youth.
The ruling party promised something equally as difficult to deliver as land reform – new rules saying people applying for their first jobs should not be excluded because they don’t have any experience.
This populist posturing by the ANC will, no doubt, serve it well at next year’s elections … and will pose a serious challenge to the EFF, which will have to turn to other ways of keeping its image top of public mind.
One of those ways will, clearly, be increasing race-baiting and acts of outrageous behaviour – if Malema’s recent performance is anything to go by. The EFF leader was shown in a video shooting an automatic weapon at the celebrations to mark the party’s fifth anniversary. The EFF’s excuses – that the weapon was a toy, or that blanks were fired – are just plain lame.
Putting aside the irony that it was apparently one of his white bodyguards who gave him the weapon and then took it back after Malema had fired his fusillade, the action showed the EFF is prepared to cross the line into illegality if it looks good and fires up supporters.
We predict there will be more inflammatory statements – and more acts of defiance, if not outright criminality – as the EFF tries to play political catch-up with the ANC.
That scares the daylights out of us.