Julius Malema AfriForum EFF

(Julius Malema / Photo supplied: blouinnews)

Julius Malema has Cyril Ramaphosa right where he wants him

Political analyst Tinyiko Maluleke believes that the EFF is the tail that wags the big dog.

Julius Malema AfriForum EFF

(Julius Malema / Photo supplied: blouinnews)

The president of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), Julius Malema has quickly become one of the central figures in South African.

Known for his shocking remarks and outrageous behaviour, Malema believes that he has President Cyril Ramaphosa on the palm of his hand.

Five years ago, analysts were almost sure that Malema’s expulsion from the African National Congress (ANC) would spell the end of his career. However, what they had not foreseen was that he would be the nightmare that never ends for the governing party.

Malema’s bid to nationalise SARB ridiculed by the DA

The EFF is busy setting up its national agenda, ahead of the 2019 elections. Already, many could agree that they have exceeded the public’s expectation in how they have been instrumental in a couple of landmark issues.

It was Malema and his political party that forced the ANC into taking up support for the expropriation of land without compensation. It was also the work of the EFF that saw former president Jacob Zuma announce the extension of free higher education in December 2017.

The next phase of the agenda, it seems, is to force the ANC to fulfil a promise it had made eight months ago to nationalise the South African Reserve Bank (SARB).

Gwen Ngwenya, the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) member of the finance committee, coined this move as the EFF’s bid to hold the central bank ransom.

“The nationalising of the SARB is a hostile move in a long game of EFF political manoeuvres to influence the mandate and operations of the Reserve Bank and ultimately South Africa’s banking system as a whole,” she added.

Malema taunts Ramaphosa and the ANC on land issue

Malema has labelled the decision taken by Ramaphosa and the ANC to redress the issues of land a desperate move.

He stated that

“The EFF is in charge. The ANC is following us. Through their land announcement, they had to look for something that changed the narrative. That’s why they came out as desperately as they did.”

The chairman of the ANC, Gwede Mantashe, laid out a possible approach to ensuring regulation and cooperation during the process of expropriation of land without compensation. He stated that land ownership should not exceed 12,000 hectares of land per farm owner.

White farmers, according to Mantashe, who owned more than that would be required by law to cede the rest to the state for redistribution.

Analysts weigh in on ANC-EFF dynamic ahead of the 2019 elections

Many analysts believe that this sudden change in the stance the ANC held on property rights is the direct response to how they performed in the 2016 local government elections where they saw a drop in support and lost three major metros, particularly Johannesburg.

Tinyiko Maluleke, who is a political analyst from the University of Pretoria, describes the EFF-ANC dynamic as the tail wagging the dog.

He added that

“So small is the EFF, it’s the tail, in this case, it’s able to wag the big dog. The EFF always takes the opportunity when there are issues like this to call the ANC’S bluff, to say ‘if you have all these radical decisions to take at your conferences, we are going to help you implement them.”

Ralph Mathekga, an independent political analyst, believes that the way political parties are dealing with the prospect of working together to ensure policy implementation is as fractious as it was when Nelson Mandela went into negotiations with white-minority rulers.

“This creates a very tense policy implementation environment, where political parties are exchanging ultimatums on policy, and shifting away from a consensus approach toward an either ‘my way or the highway’ approach to politics,” he said.

Proof of this is evident in the way the ANC came out to deny that it was being led by the EFF in the issue of land. Jessie Duarte, the ANC’s deputy secretary-general, was firm in her stance against the idea:

“If you occupy illegally the land without changing the Constitution, you are shooting yourself in the head. We are not responding to Malema. We discussed this, and we thought we need to do things properly.”