Please grow up and get to work
South Africa’s Economic Freedom Fighters ( EFF) celebrated its first anniversary last weekend and t he part y ’s members across the country painted the town red, as it were.
It’s not only the party’s first year that is worthy of festivities for the EFFers. The inf luence it has garnered since its formation is impressive, yet often scoffed at, and not only by the general public but also by the EFF itself, including its leadership.
SO, WHAT DO WE MAKE OF JULIUS MALEMA’S RANTS THAT THE EFF IS A GOVERNMENT IN WAITING?
One thing that many (especially young leaders) seem to overlook and underestimate is how impressionable our youth is. The same goes for others that are marginalised and those without much hope. Leaders must understand, however, that having the power to inf luence these constituencies comes with immense responsibility. It is their responsibility to ensure that constitutional boundaries are not tampered with in any way and to ensure that members and
followers understand and respect this. CASE IN POINT: damaging property is a serious criminal offence in SA. It does not matter how much anyone may feel he or she has been discriminated against, there is no justif ication for committing a crime. Respect for the Constitution as the foundation of all our laws is not negotiable and for any leader this is Politics 101.
In The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, leadership author and speaker John Maxwell writes: “True leadership cannot be awarded, appointed or assigned. It comes only from inf luence, and that can’t be mandated. It must be earned. The only thing a title can buy is a little time – either to increase your level of inf luence with others or to erase it.”
Malema must a l ways be conscious of this fact. While he may not always be explicitly telling his fol lowers to act i r responsibly, t he underlying message is often open to inter pretation and his followers will take it as a mandate. Remember what his ‘Kill the boer’ chant created in the country.
It is not only Malema who needs to remember what it takes to be a leader. The ruling ANC needs to set an example in terms of political tolerance and maturity; by putting semantics aside and focusing on the reason why it is in government.
The red overalls that EFF members choose to wear on occasion are a non-issue. The EFF knows that. But the ANC appears to be doing a lot of unnecessary public relations work against these overalls, which benefits no-one except perhaps the EFF itself. In fact, the ANC in general creates more publicity for the EFF than it does for itself.
If the ANC had simply accepted the overalls as part of the identity the EFF had chosen for its cause – which by the way constitutes no breach of any constitutional provision – and instead of engaging in illogical bickering and just got on with its job, SA would be moving, and in the right direction, by working for the people and putting political differences aside.