South Africa could potentially go through some changes after next May’s election if another party is voted in other than the African National Congress (ANC). The ANC which is currently led by Cyril Ramaphosa is a favourite to win as it has been the ruling party since its inception in 1994 with Nelson Mandela’s inaugural role as president of the country. However, there is an emerging party that comes from the same vein as the ANC that some may view as a little more radical.
The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) are headed by Julius Malema who was initiated as an essential part of the former ANC youth league. His unique approach to politics is influencing a generation as his black power rhetoric encourages a sense of black pride in young black South Africans. Many view his over promoting of blackness as racist rhetoric. Malema is determined to return farm land owned by white farmers to black people who he believes deserve the land. With such plans, many South Africans are questioning where South Africa would end up if the EFF took power and whether Malema would lead them to greater heights or just diminish the efforts made by those before him.
Malema has been very vocal about land redistribution and many South Africans are afraid that he will follow in the steps of Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe and his violent efforts to return the farm land back to black Zimbabweans. Malema wants a more stringent approach to balance the power structure in agriculture because the current approach is not effective enough. Malema says that Ramaphosa’s land distribution policy is ‘fake’ because he says one thing and then on another day he says another. The current governments indecisiveness over land distribution is seen as a weakness in the eyes of Malema which is why he stated that the EFF is the only relevant party in South Africa today because the ideas of this party are influencing South Africans to believe that change is possible as they see the party actually making moves forward rather than making empty promises.
According to Ramaphosa, white people make up 8% of the population and possess 72% of farms, while black people make up 80% of the population but have only 4% of farms. Malema according to his words, wants to balance this number out, but without the use of violence as in the case in Zimbabwe. He says that there will be no violence because black and white farmers are trying to work out how they can resolve this issue together. But even with the negotiations taking place wealthy South Africans especially those who are white fear that Malema might take a dig at the privileges that they enjoy such as having domestic workers in the home and being privileged just based on being white.
Julius Malema has a vision for South Africa that many of his countrymen do not agree with. The tone of his voice is one that may be seen to have discriminatory undertones, and after seeing how Apartheid shaped the nation they do not want to see a racist government take hold of the nation again. Maybe if one looks at it from a Karma point of view it would be fair for black people to have their time to be the dominant group in the country. But pushing a racist rhetoric is only going to further promote ideas of hate and superiority which will only open up old wounds. This would defeat the notion of all South Africans irrespective of race working as one to build a better South Africa.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Best of Africa.
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