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.

You May Like

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

Audio 'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
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

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs