EFF supporters hold placards during the launch of the party's election manifesto in Soshanguve, near Pretoria, in February 2019. Picture: REUTERS/SIPHIWE SIBEKO
EFF supporters hold placards during the launch of the party's election manifesto in Soshanguve, near Pretoria, in February 2019. Picture: REUTERS/SIPHIWE SIBEKO

What if we told you that the DA and EFF are actually the same party? That they are running a single election campaign and deliberately hoodwinking the electorate into believing they are competing with one another? Malema and Mabuza are still bound by old loyalties, (April 23)

The DA and EFF are involved in a sophisticated con game. And we, the people of SA, are their mark. The “tell” is their talk of coalitions as the future. The EFF recently said it would not go into a coalition with a “hostile” DA and would consider coalition talks with the ANC. The DA has put up posters and advertisements telling voters not to back an ANC-EFF coalition. They even use the same (poster) graphics company.

If they were not interested in being in a coalition, why is the EFF still supporting the DA governments in Tshwane and Johannesburg? It is because they are in a coalition? Who are they fooling? The EFF did not want Solly Msimanga as mayor in Tshwane. The DA initially refused, with even its national leader expressing a public interest in the Gauteng premier position. But they appeased their coalition partner and removed Msimang.

They are helping each other as we speak. Lying to the electorate that they do not agree, and then after the elections when they cannot be taken to task, they will work with each other again to try keep the ANC out.

The EFF has attempted to use the selfsame modus operandi and threatened the DA mayor in Johannesburg. Instead of talking about a nonsensical David Mabuza faction in the ANC acting on behalf of the EFF, maybe they should be talking about an EFF faction in the DA.

They are helping each other as we speak. Lying to the electorate that they do not agree, and then after the elections when they cannot be taken to task, they will work with each other again to try keep the ANC out. Their starting point may be different, and their core constituencies poles apart, but their endpoint is exactly the same: fight back against the ANC.

The EFF and DA are two sides of the same coin. They are the Sarah Palin and Donald Trump of SA politics — the ultimate populists. They rely on the paper-thin tactics of populism to win over their supporters. It is a tactic of making the most noise with little substance to speak over reason and real-life policies that work. It is the deafening of reality and empathy. It is the abdication of our Africanness and ubuntu.

The DA slogan “Secure our borders” is Trump in three words. So is “Son of the soil”, the words on the posters of Julius Malema.

The respected Bloomberg news agency reported in April that “the two main challengers to the ruling ANC are increasingly echoing the anti-immigrant and race-baiting bias that’s come to dominate politics in the US under Donald Trump and President Jair Bolsonaro’s Brazil, as well as Italy and parts of Eastern Europe”.

That is what populism seeks to do. It seeks to divide and create tension. It wants to distract us from the real messages and abilities of parties to improve the lives of all South Africans and to grow an economy and society that will see our nation transform into the dream we long for.

Populism speaks of war and a false revolution, it roars of fighting and death, it is blue and red and nothing in between, spoken by those who have not experienced the harshness of being part of the struggle that sought change.

How does a nation work and thrive and grow if it is constantly fighting with itself and an imagined enemy? The National Party created the spectre of the “swart gevaar”. It seems the DA and EFF have learnt from it. It is the worst of scare tactics, designed to create a false apartheid-inspired narrative of “gevaar”. Today they substitute the ANC for black people.

Building a country that works for all involves listening, changing and adapting. Restoring the dignity of our people and providing the basic services they are entitled to requires people on the ground, in councils and municipalities, to stand fast and work hard. It takes more than words to provide a country and a people with the weight of responsibility that their vote brings.

The sad rise of con artists in our politics is nothing short of sophisticated electoral fraud.

• Kekana is a member of the ANC’s national executive committee member and chair of the party’s communication subcommittee