The suggestion by Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema that his party is prepared to merge with the ANC cannot be ignored completely, as anything is possible in politics. But the firebrand may have a hidden ambition to capture the ruling party.
This was the view of independent political analyst Sanusha Naidu, who has a deep understanding of ANC alliance politics. Naidu said Malema, expelled from the ruling party along with his EFF deputy, Floyd Shivambu, before they formed the EFF, was positioning the young party as the main political kingmakers in South Africa.
“It is not about going back to the ANC, but trying to control the ANC,” Naidu said. “There is probably a bigger ambition and a personal vision at play.”
Malema told eNCA’s CheckPoint this week that the ANC would drop to below 50% in the 2019 national elections, while his party would rise to 10%. He said, in that case, he would offer the ANC a merger, forcing it to collapse.
“We close Luthuli House, we go and open headquarters of this new party in Soweto, where our people are,” Malema told the programme’s anchor, Nkepile Mabuse, stressing “the merger of the two parties would have to produce new leadership”.
By saying that he would ensure the ANC changed its name if it merged with the EFF, Naidu said, Malema intended to rid the ANC of its identity and ultimately destroy it.
“His ultimate vision is to tear the ANC apart and dominate it using his kingmaker posture,” Naidu said.
“He wants to come back for his vindication to say: ‘You expelled me, but I am coming back better and stronger.’ He wants to position the EFF as that political entity that has to capture the ANC and remix it according to his vision and power desires.
“The question may be: if the ANC is talking to Malema, are they prepared to accept that as a possible scenario?”
The ANC’s weakness was not to anticipate the implications of expelling him and it was caught off-guard. Naidu said Malema may have a bigger plan.
“His idea may find resonance among the EFF top leadership, but I am not sure if it will be similarly received by the membership.”