SA, EFF and political vulgarity
Malema’s temperament and confrontational political rhetoric has on several other occasions landed him in trouble. In april 2016 south african opposition politician Julius Malema said in an interview that he is willing take up arms and “remove the government through the barrel of a gun”. The african National Congress (anc)-aligned military veterans issued a similar statement against the government over benefits that have not materialised.
The governing ANC has since opened a treason case against Malema. The lack of political leadership is presenting a serious political challenge for south africa. The neglect of political leadership by the ANC, the oldest political party in africa, is manifesting itself negatively in the current politics of the country.
There is a widespread indiscipline and political naivete persisting in several political parties. and Malema’s recent statement demonstrates that naivete. Carelessness in political speeches has had a devastating history in africa. They have led to genocides, civil wars and economic collapse.
The economies of almost all developing nations — including south africa — are vulnerable to any signs of political instability, and as a result foreign investors are still weary of the developing world. Notwithstanding the endurance of south african democracy compared with many african countries, it is still not out of the woods. Therefore, any political statements that suggest or point towards a possible political upheaval discourage foreign investment which the south african economy desperately needs.
Lack of political mentorship The lack of effective party-sponsored political colleges and mentorship has culminated in political sophistry in south africa. The government justification of the private residence of President Jacob Zuma is one case in point.
The underperforming post-apartheid political college of the ANC has failed to produce high-quality political leaders who can do well in international politics. Politicians wait until they reach government positionsns before they can be enrolled in internationall political crash courses in preparation for the office.
Most former leaders of the ANC Youthouth have courted radicalism and political vulgaritygarity as a form of political engagement. It is widely regarded as the best method of upward ward mobility within the ranks of the party. The rise of Malema’s economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) is a culmination of continuedd political vulgarity and misdemeanours.
The EFF was formed by a groupp of disgruntled ANC Youth league members bers with Malema and Floyd shivambu. Malema ema and shivambu were expelled from the ANC for bringing the party into disrepute andnd showing no remorse during the mitigationn process in 2012.
Controversies Malema once entered a rowdy exchange hange of words with the BBC journalist Jonahh Fisher, subsequently yelling insults at the journalist during a press conference. He was later forced to apologise to Fisher by thehe ANC. Malema’s temperament and confrontationalntational political rhetoric has on several otherher occasions landed him in trouble. During the rape trial in 2006 of his erstwhile ally, Presiresident Jacob Zuma, he was quoted as saying that he was “willing to kill for Zuma”.
This statement invited a barrage of criticism from the public and the opposition parties in south africa at the time. later in 2011 he was taken to court and later convicted of hate speech for insisting on singing a sensitive anti-apartheid song Dubul Ibhunu (shoot the Boer). shivamu, deputy president of the EFF, has not been clear from controversy either. He was taken, tried and later forced by the court to apologise for calling a white female journalist “a stupid white b***h”.
In November 2014, shivambu was caught on camera showing his middle finger at the Deputy President of south africa Cyril Ramaphosa in parliament. These cases clearly demonstrate lack of political discipline, and it is this political trajectory that has characterised the rise of the EFF.
What needs to be done? While in developing nations the tradition of political education and mentorship thrives, africa is still lagging far behind. There are several reasons why this is the case in the developing world and in south africa specifically. The elongated struggle against colonisation by most african countries resulted in many african leaders missing the opportunity of political education.
Moreover, the sociopolitical imperatives of post-colonial dispensation have resulted in the neglect of political education and mentorship of future leaders. Finally, the new power holders are reluctant to mentor owing to fear of raising political competition.
What most developing countries have to deal with as a result is regular political violence; ; and this circle continues unabated. However, unlike those other african countries, south africa has so far managed to establish a political system that encourages vibrant multi-party democracy. Consequently Malema’s threat to take up arms against the government has been a great cause for concern in what most view as an african success story. — al Jazeera
Thembisa Fakude is a researcher at the Al Jazeera Center for Studies.
eff leader Julius Malema.