The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) is celebrating its seventh birthday on Sunday, but 2020’s commemoration will be different. It will be virtual and party members will dress in black in memory of COVID-19 victims.
Julius Malema, a vibrant young man as many would refer to him, has crossed swords with some in his former party.
The ANC expelled him in 2012.
The former ANC Youth League president and Floyd Shivambu, who was the league’s Media Liaison Officer, were in the political wilderness.
In 2013, the EFF was born, headed by Malema. The party was to participate in the 2014 National and Provincial Elections and it secured seats in the National Assembly and provincial legislatures across the country.
EFF National Chairperson Veronica Mente says the party has carried the mandate of achieving economic freedom.
“We have carried the mandate of achieving the economic freedom in our lifetime. In the first year, 2013-2014, we managed to launch our very formal structures of the EFF from our regional levels, provincial levels and you remember that in 2014. Then we went into elections for the first time. We have seats in all provinces and the National Assembly.”
Marking the party’s sixth anniversary in 2019, Malema said the EFF would continue to grow until it governed.
“EFF was formed by you. Only you can destroy the EFF. Only you can say let’s close the EFF. No one will close the EFF. No one will kill the EFF. This EFF is going to govern South Africa.”
But what does the future hold for the EFF? Many other new parties did not survive. Political analyst Ralph Mathekga says parties like the EFF are formed around personalities.
“The problem with political parties such as the EFF is that they are always formed around personalities. So, it’s always difficult to imagine how the parties such as that will survive or grow beyond the leadership of the original founder such as Mr Malema. So, in a situation such as this, you have seen with COPE where such party leaders are being contested, usually, the party does not hold. There is no survival beyond that kind of contest.”
Malema will address the party virtually on Sunday.