The Economic Freedom Fighters will either end several hung councils by announcing who they will be forming coalitions with… or they will force minority governments closer to democracy than they’ve ever been before.
This is the EFF’s moment, the payoff for their media brashness and repeated Parliament disruptions. Love them or hate them, politics, like much of our lives, needs rebels….
…but because this is politics, hypocrisy abounds too, the ANC and DA undoubtedly having spent the past week offering deserts to Julius Malema, leader of the EFF.
THE CHALLENGES, THE CHOICES
The first irony is that they’re all publicly declared enemies of each other. The second is that some have previously gone so far as to say that they’ll never work together. The third may lie with Malema if he makes a deal wherein his non-negotiable terms of land and the removal of President Jacob Zuma aren’t met.
It’s logical to expect that the EFF sought a nationwide deal but it’s unlikely that they’ll have succeeded. On the ground, local politics would have conflicted, threatening disruption within the party.
In Nelson Mandela Bay, the DA’s Athol Trollip could form a simple coalition with the EFF… but anything with the EFF is unlikely to be simple. Alternatively, he can embrace several small parties – the latter may be awkward but, over the long term, the DA has more chance to remove their identity and subsume them.
Gauteng, the richest province, is up for grabs. The districts of Johannesburg, Tshwane and Ekurhuleni can swing either way. The EFF could hedge their bets, keeping as many doors open for future power plays e.g. say yes to the ANC in one or two places, and yes to the DA in the other.
The danger to the major parties is that knowledge is power i.e. the EFF would have highways into the back rooms of opposing parties, a situation that would benefit the EFF more than any other.
But to make a deal for all three municipalities would create a kingsized bed of discomfort that could find the EFF demanding more and more.
The deals have already been made or shunned. The EFF was supposed to announce yesterday but postponed because of the Marikana Massacre anniversary.
THE EFF IS KING NOT KINGMAKER?
The DA and EFF will not be singing “Kumbaya“.
The ANC and EFF will not be dancing to Beyonce’s ‘Formation’.
Instead, the EFF might play the biggest political card ever – ABSTAIN FROM SUPPORTING ANYONE AND INSTEAD LET MINORITY GOVERNMENTS RULE. In doing so, they stop any backlash from their supporters whilst being able to vote the way they want, for either side, on a per issue basis.
If the EFF do so, they will have trumped the ANC and the DA with the moral card.
1200 – EFF announcement from Alexandra
1430 – DA announcement from Sandton
1530 – DA announcement from Port Elizabeth
Today is an important day for South Africa’s limping democracy.
Someone’s laughing, my Lord, kum bay ya;
Someone’s crying, my Lord, kum bay ya;
Someone’s praying, my Lord, kum bay ya;
South Africa’s waiting, my Lord, come whatEVER!
Read ‘EFF Gives DA Their Vote‘ to know what happened at the EFF’s media conference.