Malema launches radical ‘freedom fighters’ party

South Africa’s former African National Congress Youth League leader, Julius Malema, is once again in the limelight after launching a new party, The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) in July.

Addressing the media at Constitution Hill in Johannesburg, Malema said the expropriation of land without compensation and the nationalisation of the mines, as well as other key sectors of the economy, are central to his organisation’s yet-to-be formed policy. According to the party’s charter, unveiled at the same event, the organisation is a “radical, left, anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist movement with an internationalist outlook anchored by popular grassroots formations and struggles”.

Malema, who is just 32, has already had a short but eventful political career. He rose in prominence through the ANC Youth League and played a key role in President Jacob Zuma’s ascent to power in the 2009 election, but was later cast out into the cold after his expulsion from the ANC in 2012 following a bruising battle with Zuma.

Malema is now one of Zuma’s strongest critics, and insists that the EFF stands a good chance of toppling the ANC, which is no idle boast. According to Dr. Somadoda Fikeni, an independent political analyst speaking to News24: “There is a market in South Africa for a radical party like the EFF where people are still asking a lot of questions about transformation.”

Analysts say that increasing numbers of South Africans, especially the unemployed youth, are losing faith in the ANC, with a recent survey showing that one in four 18 to 34-yearolds would vote for him.

Malema is also facing corruption charges relating to a government tender awarded to a company partly owned by his family trust, but commentators believe that his corruption charges won’t harm his popularity as long as he stays out of jail.

According to South Africa’s Mail and Guardian newspaper, Malema has not committed to contesting next year’s elections, stating that the party would decide at the organisation’s national assembly to be held at the end of July.


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