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

    US Leaders Who Served in Vietnam War Look Back and Ahead

    In New York Times opinion piece, Secretary of State John Kerry, Senator John McCain and former Senator Bob Kerrey say as US strengthens relations with Vietnam, it is important to remember lessons learned from war

    Who Are US Allies in Fight Against Islamic State?

    There is little but opportunism keeping coalition together analysts warn — SDFs Arab militias are not united even among themselves, frequently squabble and don’t share Kurds' vision for post-Assad Syria

    Learning Foreign Language Helps US Soldiers Bridge Culture Gap

    Effective interaction with local populations part of everyday curriculum at Monterey, California, Defense Language Institute

    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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora