EXTRACT

Still, I can understand why the EFF is making such a fuss over its fith birthday. Five is a nice number. There are five fingers on a fist. Some people can get five fingers into a cookie jar. Stalin had five-year plans.

It also sounds good. For example, “five years old” sounds better than “has contested one general election”.

It also sounds better than “six percent”, which, let’s admit it, is a very small number.

EFF leader Julius Malema. Picture: ALON SKUY​
EFF leader Julius Malema. Picture: ALON SKUY​

The EFF is turning five. Which means that next year it will start getting schooled, and, in about 20 years, might be worth listening to.

That’s not me being snarky, by the way. It’s the EFF that keeps referring to itself as a five-year-old: I’m just extending its metaphor.

After all, it was Julius Malema who launched the party in 2013 by announcing that “a different baby is born today, a giant … A child that walks immediately.”

Now, some critics might say that a huge, perambulating infant blundering around the maternity ward is a pretty apt description of the EFF. I don’t know. But I do know that if you’re going to keep referring to yourself as a super-baby, or, in this case, a five-year-old, you’ve got to take your licks when people point out that five-year-olds might be cute and say the darndest things but they have absolutely nothing to offer when it comes to sensible government.

Still, I can understand why the EFF is making such a fuss over its fith birthday. Five is a nice number. There are five fingers on a fist. Some people can get five fingers into a cookie jar. Stalin had five-year plans.

It also sounds good. For example, “five years old” sounds better than “has contested one general election”.

It also sounds better than “six percent”, which, let’s admit it, is a very small number, although it is bigger than zero, which is the number of title deeds the EFF wants South Africans to own.

And of course it sounds way better than “a million percent”, which, by the end of the year, will be the rate of inflation in Venezuela, or “231 million percent”, which was Zimbabwe’s inflation rate back in 2008; the same Venezuela and Zimbabwe that the EFF touted as countries worth emulating.

No, those numbers don’t sound good at all, and are best forgotten.

Luckily, forgetting facts and figures is what we South Africans do best, which means the EFF’s half-decade celebrations will pass with a great exultation of merriment, jubilation and the usual threats aimed at Indians, whites, and so on.

So what will the next five years hold for the pouting child of South African politics?

Some pundits are worried about the party’s fascist tendencies, but I think these claims are hugely overblown. The Nazi Party in Germany started as a vocal supporter of the workers and a fierce opponent of capitalism, big business and the bourgeoisie, before turning against minorities and communists, whereas the EFF has got nothing against communists.

See? Totally different.

This article was first published by Times Select

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