News / Africa

South African Firebrand Malema's Book Causing a Stir

FILE - Julius Malema, center, leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), arrives at Parliament wearing a hard hat and overall to show solidarity with coal mine workers, in Cape Town, South Africa, May 21, 2014.
FILE - Julius Malema, center, leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), arrives at Parliament wearing a hard hat and overall to show solidarity with coal mine workers, in Cape Town, South Africa, May 21, 2014.

The controversial South African politician Julius Malema has released a book entitled The Coming Revolution.   Malema surprised everyone when his new Economic Freedom Fighters party took nearly 10 percent of the vote in this year's elections. The book and political ambitions of the young militant is causing worry within political circles.

The book titled The Coming Revolution: Julius Malema and the Fight for Economic Freedom, portrays Julius Malema and his party as the answer to South Africa's socio-economic problems.

Those problems include corruption, unemployment of at least 25 percent, poorly operating schools and chronic financial inequality 20 years after the end of apartheid.

Speaking at the book launch in July, Malema repeated his populist stance. "In everything else we do, we seek to achieve economic freedom in our lifetime and that is a strategic vision of the EFF, which we want all members of the EFF to internalize and appreciate," he said.

Economic freedom - as defined by the EFF - would be achieved through a socialist approach that includes nationalization of mines and banks, and the expropriation of land without compensation.  

In the book, which was not actually written by Malema, he does not hide his anger and hatred for whites.  He said they must return the land that they, in his words, stole from the South African black majority.

The message resonates with some South African blacks, who are increasingly disillusioned by the failure of the ruling African National Congress party to deliver basic services, and by seeing the party of the late Nelson Mandela named in one corruption scandal after another.

Malema himself has had his share of scandals, including being arrested and charged with fraud, tax evasion, money-laundering and racketeering.

But his appeal to the poor is undeniable, and that is what has more established political circles and analysts concerned. That, and the anger in the message, his confrontational style and potential for violence.

"The continuation to remove EFF from legislature, through wrong rulings. We will fight. They must never undermine us and take us for granted and think we are kids.  We contested the elections.  We have got the mandate of our people and no one should play with that mandate.  We are warning them," Malema said.

In just his first week in parliament, Malema was thrown out of the chamber for refusing to withdraw a statement in which he said the ANC killed 34 miners who were shot dead by police during strikes in Marikana in 2012.

In a separate incident, EFF representatives in the Gauteng Province legislature were evicted by police for coming into session wearing red overalls and domestic workers clothes.  EFF supporters retaliated with a protest in which they forced their way into the legislature, damaging property and looting.

This behavior has political leaders worried.  

ANC Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe is as blunt as Malema in terms of his disapproval of the EFF's actions - known by their uniforms of red shirts and berets:

"If you begin to see the behavior in parliament today, I can tell you there is a formation that is getting into that space that I think in all forms -- it is Nazi-ist and fascist.  It is using uniforms to mobilize in the same way that Hitler used the brown shirts to mobilize," stated Mantashe.

But at some point, analysts suggest, the EFF must start delivering substance with their new mandate, or risk losing support.

"I think that people are looking at the EFF in parliament, and, in every other platform, to see whether it has a feasible and viable alternative program that is potentially economically prosperous.  And at this point the EFF has not demonstrated that," said Gideon Chitanga, a Johannesburg-based political researcher at the Centre for Study of Democracy.

While the EFF celebrates one year as a party -- with slogans such as "we have arrived, we are here to stay, ours is an unstoppable revolution" - Chitanga said history shows that similar socialist platforms and threats to the rule of law have ultimately failed in the modern world.

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Comment Sorting
by: lekhaya from: daveyton
August 24, 2014 1:02 PM
Anc must start looking up for what they fought for and deliver the expectations of the people as they said,our country is been over populated and we as south africans don't benefit from our land,the Anc has forgetting its Mandate,only the people who benefits in this country support the Anc,let as all benefit

by: Lekula from: Vanderbiltpark
August 02, 2014 2:00 PM
Time for Economic Emancipation is now, and the leftist would not stop until Socialiam is achieved, ANC government are puppets of Capitalist countries and had sold Africans Economy to the West
In Response

by: unknown from: cape town
August 05, 2014 7:45 AM
sold African's economy to the west, haha what a joke there was no economy, don't kid yourself buddy you have more now thanks to white people. and that's the truth, however i do stand for equality and the past is the past. today everybody including ANC and eff has taken Mandela and what he stood for and fought for, for a joke. why does the eff target the unemployed and poor?? because they are uneducated and he can tell lies give them false hope and gain support. what has he done for this country except live a lavish lifestyle with my tax money??? what has he done for you????? He along with plenty of the ANC members belong in jail.

im sure Mandela cried him self to sleep at night seeing what was undone by selfish greedy racist politicians. he wanted peace for all races total EQUALITY !! not just for black people. that is why we will never get anywhere in this country, greed and power. so sad, unless the government has the balls to change and turn this around to make this the nation we all know it to be.

by: ndebsmike from: meyerton
July 31, 2014 2:23 PM
If EFF represent the poor,why do they resort. To violence. This are acts of cowardice from the CIC.using.the poor as his bait.
In Response

by: diba from: polokwane
August 01, 2014 1:44 AM
Eff is the answer to our problems,overseas companies are exploiting our workers,labour brokers must be banned,retail companies continues to make billions but pays peanuts to our people,they work without benefits

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