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Clive Ndou
Politics editor
3 minute read
26 Apr 2021
06:18

The EFF’s focus on KZN youth pays off

Clive Ndou

The EFF’s bold stance on critical issues ranging from land to education, coupled with the party’s aggressive mobilisation of young people, has led to the organisation’s strong showing in the recent KwaZulu-Natal by-elections.

The EFF’s bold stance on critical issues ranging from land to education, coupled with the party’s aggressive mobilisation of young people, has led to the organisation’s strong showing in the recent KwaZulu-Natal by-elections.

This is according to political analyst Protas Madlala, who also attributed the EFF’s rise in KZN to the ANC’s poor response to the EFF’s mobilisation strategy.

“Since its inception, the EFF has been focusing a lot on young people. They were mobilising in tertiary institutions and raising issues which are key to the young and the poor.

“They have been laying the groundwork and this is evidenced by their performance in last week’s by-elections,” he said.

The EFF — which contested wards in the eThekwini Municipality, Harry Gwala, Ilembe and KwaDukuza districts — garnered as much as 22% of the vote in some wards compared to the slim three percent it recorded in the 2016 local government polls.

While the ANC won four of the five wards contested in the province during Wednesday’s by-elections, Madlala said the fact that the ruling party won with a reduced margin compared to the 2016 local government elections was proof that the EFF was being successful in reducing ANC support in the province.

“For a long time now there has not been a strong ANCYL leadership to counter the EFF’s narrative. This allowed the EFF to grow and occupy the space which otherwise would have been occupied by the ANCYL.”
Political analyst Protas Madlala

“There is no doubt that more and more ANC voters are defecting to the EFF,” he said.

The collapse of the ANC Youth League [ANCYL] following the expulsion of then ANCYL president and now EFF leader Julius Malema, Maladla said, created an opportunity for the EFF to grow its support among young people.

“For a long time now there has not been a strong ANCYL leadership to counter the EFF’s narrative. This allowed the EFF to grow and occupy the space which otherwise would have been occupied by the ANCYL.

“Even though the student wing aligned to the ANC, the South African Students Congress [Sasco] remained active in student politics, it could, for obvious reasons, match the EFF’s student wing in terms of raising student issues sharply. There are a number of issues which Sasco can’t raise given its alignment to the ANC,” Madlala said.

READ | EFF urge students to vote

Out of the four main political parties — the ANC, IFP, DA and EFF — it was the EFF which recorded the biggest growth in voter support during Wednesday’s by-elections. The by-elections saw the IFP — which retained its ward in Lindelani, KwaDukuza — losing a key ward in KwaMaphumulo to the ANC.

While Madlala conceded that the by-elections could be an indicator that the ANC would win the majority of KZN municipalities in the upcoming Local Government Elections on October 27, he said it was highly likely that the ANC’s performance would drop compared to the 2016 local government elections.