It should surprise no one that the Economic Freedom Fighters’ (EFF) Gauteng “provincial people’s assembly” over the weekend in the Vaal descended into violent chaos, with allegations of people being beaten up and shots fired by bodyguards “protecting” party leader Julius Malema.
Malema is no stranger to using violence to get his political way. His carefully engineered thuggery at an ANC Youth League conference years back ensured that he and his henchmen chased away all his opponents. His parent organisation, the ANC, did not stop the violence, or discipline him and his comrades after it occurred.
Now that Malema heads his own “revolutionary” organisation, he and his lieutenants will have us believe everyone is united in a quest to end white economic power and get the land back for dispossessed Africans. The revolution, of course, does not preclude its leaders from living what their supporters would regard as the high life – including powerful cars, expensive houses and classy personal adornments, like Breitling watches.
Clearly, Malema has always been aware he could become a target – although he has implied it’s white reactionaries who might target him for speaking truth to power. The reality, it has now been confirmed, is that Malema and those around him wear their self-placed crowns with some unease because their organisation is anything but united. Its members, following the example of the leadership, espouse and practise violence when it is needed to get their way.
There have been a number of incidents of assaults and intimidation reported from within party ranks in recent years. It doesn’t help, of course, when your leader wantonly discharges an automatic rifle in public or when the staple rabble-rousing rhetoric in your party is centred on violence.
Welcome to the real EFF.