EFF seeks a bang, not a whimper
The EFF wants to convey itself as political martyrs ahead of the 2024 elections.
EFF supporters at the Randburg Magistrate’s Court in Johannesburg on 28 October 2020. Picture: Nigel Sibanda
Whatever you think of Julius Malema – love him or loathe him – you cannot deny that he is an astute and wily politician.
That’s why he and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) have thrown so much effort into trying to ensure Monday’s national shutdown goes off with a bang and not a mere whimper.
Even better for Malema and the EFF’s propaganda purposes if that bang comes from the weapons of the security forces, never mind if they are only teargas grenades or rubber bullets and not hard ammunition.
Any use of force by the authorities – no matter the amount of provocation or how much people’s lives or property may be in danger – will be seized upon by the EFF as evidence that the ANC of President Cyril Ramaphosa wants to violently suppress any dissent.
The image of itself and its members as political martyrs is exactly what the EFF wants to convey ahead of the crucial 2024 elections, because it can then portray itself in the same light as the people who fought in the streets against apartheid.
The protests today could make or break the EFF politically – and that is why they are so potentially dangerous. If it turns out that the organisation does not have the support it claims to, despite its offensive on social media, then desperation for publicity might well lead to violence.
Naturally, Malema has already sowed the “plausible deniability” seed by claiming that the DA and others would hire “agents provocateurs” to instigate violence, claiming to be EFF supporters.
On the other hand, there is definitely a groundswell of anger about the multiple, and repeated, failures of the ANC government – load shedding being the least of them.
So, EFF marchers could find sympathy in unexpected places, as long as they walk the peaceful line.
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