Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema. Picture: AFP PHOTO/MUJAHID SAFODIEN
Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema. Picture: AFP PHOTO/MUJAHID SAFODIEN

Herman Mashaba’s resignation as Johannesburg mayor has put the spotlight on the marriage of two unlikely bedfellows, the DA and EFF. The parties are diametrically opposed to each other in every respect, so a coalition between the two seemed impossible. Mashaba single-handedly managed this arrangement to the point where EFF leader Julius Malema heaped praises on the DA mayor.  

The DA has announced its candidate for the position but early celebrations came to an abrupt end when the red berets announced the party will field its own candidate for the post. All that is needed now is support from the ANC and the DA will be out in the cold.

The EFF’s policies resonate better with the ANC. On the land issue the EFF has been vocal and unwavering on expropriation without compensation. I would dare say that the coalition arrangement with the EFF was the single biggest factor that contributed to the DA’s lost votes to the Freedom Front Plus (FF+).

While the DA is grappling with its position on affirmative action and BEE, the EFF is clear that this form of redress is critical to advance the principles of the national democratic revolution. The EFF wants more for its black support base, and the DA is protecting the interests of its predominantly white constituency.

Malema is a shrewd and calculated politician. He knows what to say to bring in the votes and he was successful in keeping Mmusi Maimane’s DA in check. It is perfectly understandable for him to say that he will find it difficult to negotiate with John Steenhuisen and Helen Zille, the new leaders of the DA. 

Malema said that if the DA does not support its candidate in Joburg, then it will “remove” the Tshwane mayor as well. Here too the mayor was elected with the support of the EFF.

Politics is not for the faint-hearted and text book politicians. Malema was groomed in ANC trenches and leads a party with growing support. He won’t risk that by getting into bed with a party that wants to shed its nonracial image.

The DA leaders, on the other hand, have their experience from boardrooms and have made a clear decision to win back white support lost in this year’s election. Malema has put the cat among the pigeons and forced the DA into a cul de sac.

It will be interesting to see whether the DA will support an EFF candidate in Joburg.

Visvin Reddy

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