In my article titled Anti-Zuma, pro what? (The Weekly, 16 – 22 November 2012), I questioned whether those who were waging a bitter war against President Jacob Zuma knew what they wanted, as opposed to what they did not want. If these groupings are so anti-Zuma, who, or what, are they for, I asked.
In the above article, I made specific reference to an article by a UK-based independent researcher, Professor Martin Thomas, which is titled Anti-capitalism, pro-what? In the article Prof Thomas warned of the dangers associated with the “ambiguity” of the march by the British “Anti-Capitalist Initiative”, which was set up on the 28th April 2012.
“If the practical unity is only “where we agree”, then the model here is a loose coordination of different groupings”, Prof Thomas warned in his article. Fast forward to 2016, about four years later, an almost similar phenomenon has reappeared following the 2016 local government elections.
The 2016 elections were the most fiercely contested polls since the birth of freedom and democracy. As a consequence, the votes were divided amongst a number of political parties and associations. The country’s urban centres were the most fiercely contested and in areas like Rustenburg, Ekurhuleni, Johannesburg and Nelson Mandela Bay, there was no outright winner. The situation then called for coalitions.
On Monday, 22 August 2016, when the EFF councillors in the City of Johannesburg were busy voting for DA mayoral candidate, Herman Mashaba, hundreds of EFF supporters were protesting outside the city hall, where the inaugural council was sitting. “How can they sell our vote to the white Democratic Alliance”, said angry protestors.
These protests came at the back of the EFF’s decision to vote with the DA in the election of municipal office bearers like Speakers, Mayors and Council Whips. The protest seen at Johannesburg is a sign that the EFF leadership’s decision to vote with the DA was not canvassed with the more than 2.4 million people who voted for the party.
Well, EFF has a right to use its vote anyhow.
In fact, I was praying for ANC not to fall into a coalition with the EFF. But a deeper analysis of this sudden lovey-dovey relationship between the EFF and the DA triggers a number of questions; 1) how does the EFF stand to benefit from DA’s control of municipalities?; 2) Who stands to benefit from the DA’s control of municipalities?, and 3) Who does the EFF really represent?
In the history of democratic South Africa, no single political party has ever ‘donated’ its votes like the EFF has. In South African context, to get a single vote is not easy. That is why all political parties often enter into coalitions in return for their votes. So it is really hard to believe that the EFF just gave away its votes for free to DA.
What we know is that DA is unapologetically attached to white supremacy, and that it will do everything in its power to deepen and defend white minority interests.
It is also common knowledge that in November 2015, Julius Malema led a high-level EFF delegation visit to Britain where they met, amongst others, former UK ambassador to South Africa Lord Robin Renwick, who is linked to white monopoly capital through SABMiller, BhP Billiton, JP Morgan and may others.
But what we do not know is what transpired when the EFF met champions of white monopoly capital in Britain in 2015. We also do not know what was deliberated during the coalition talks between the EFF and DA, which led to this blanket support for the DA. With this lack of knowledge, we therefore cannot know what the EFF stands to benefit from the DA’s control of municipalities. Only time will tell.
The second question I posed earlier is much simpler than the first question. In my view the DA’s rule will not benefit the black majority. The DA is unapologetic about its negative stance towards Black Economic Empowerment, in particular. The millions of people who voted for the EFF with the expectation of economic freedom will see that objective deferred under DA rule.
The DA rule in my view will benefit white monopoly capital. Through the system of government tenders, amongst others, the DA will use the City of Johannesburg’s R55 billion budget to entrench the apartheid economic relations. The selection of councillors, who are mainly lily white and mostly male, in all municipalities controlled by the DA, is sign of what is to happen in the next five years.
It is really difficult to determine who the EFF really represent. Formed out of anger, the party meet the criteria of Prof Martin’s Anti-Capitalist Initiative” of a “loose coordination of different groupings”. Irrespective of what the party represent, it is important to record in the history books that EFF is one party that played a monumental role in the consolidation of white minority rule.
CDE. TIISETSO MAKHELE IS AN ANC MEMBER AND SPOKESPERSON OF FREE STATE PREMIER CDE. ACE MAGASHULE. HE WRITES IN HIS PERSONAL CAPACITY.