The honeymoon with Ramaphosa is truly over

Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema briefs media at the party's headquarters in Braamfontein, Johannesburg, 23 January 2019. Picture: Nigel Sibanda

Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema briefs media at the party's headquarters in Braamfontein, Johannesburg, 23 January 2019. Picture: Nigel Sibanda

Malema’s threats to disrupt the upcoming State of the Nation Address in parliament early next month is notice of the EFF’s intent.

The EFF is probably the most savvy political party when it comes to spin doctoring and playing the media … all in its populist cause. And journalists pander to them because they are newsworthy and generate good quotes.

There is no doubt that, in terms of political influence, the EFF punches well above its weight. One needs to look no further than its public noise about land – which caused the ANC to put the issue front and centre politically – to see that.

So, when Julius Malema says the party is about to stop treating President Cyril Ramaphosa with kid gloves – and that the post-Jacob Zuma honeymoon with the ANC is over as far as the EFF is concerned – then one must pay attention.

Malema’s threats to disrupt the upcoming State of the Nation Address in parliament early next month is notice of the EFF’s intent. Malema also said his organisation would no longer cooperate with other parties, as it did after the 2016 local government elections, which saw the ANC-led administrations booted out in Johannesburg and Tshwane.

All of this is supposedly because Ramaphosa has failed to properly account for a payment of R500 000 made by corruption-tainted company Bosasa to his son, Andile.

Malema does have a good point there. There are still questions to be asked about that money, particularly now that Bosasa’s key role in capturing ANC leaders is being revealed in the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture.

There is also the possibility that the EFF might be stoking anti-Ramaphosa sentiment because its own image is far from squeaky clean, as the country discovered in the VBS Bank scandal.

But it could also be that the EFF is confident it will do so well in the elections it will have no need of partners. Time will tell …

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