Could I now vote for Malema and the EFF in 2019 elec­tion?

The Star Early Edition - - OPINION & ANALYSIS -

IES were told to Juju (EFF leader Julius Malema) by peo­ple whom Juju had no rea­son to dis­be­lieve. Quite cor­rectly, he be­lieved them and acted ac­cord­ingly. He dis­cov­ered later he was lied to,” for­mer pres­i­dent Thabo Mbeki said in a tele­vised in­ter­view.

The Eco­nomic Free­dom Fight­ers leader agreed with him.

Th­ese words got me think­ing even harder about a ques­tion I have been pon­der­ing for a while now. Could I vote for the EFF in 2019?

Malema has worked on his im­age over the past few years. When he speaks now he sounds more pres­i­den­tial and more ap­peal­ing to clever-al­most-born-free blacks like my­self.

Malema sorted out the mock­ery that was his aca­demic achieve­ment and grad­u­ated last year from Unisa. This proved to me that he is well aware of the im­por­tance of ed­u­ca­tion and will do any­thing to en­sure that ed­u­cat­ing the black child re­mains a pri­or­ity in our coun­try if he be­comes pres­i­dent.

His ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee are a bunch of ed­u­cated peo­ple who re­ally want to usher in rad­i­cal eco­nomic free­dom in their time.

Is that rea­son enough to vote for the EFF?

He fur­ther got mar­ried. In black cul­ture or com­mu­ni­ties, even in a demo­cratic and mod­ern world like we live in to­day, get­ting a wife is a sign you are more set­tled in life. It is largely in­ter­preted as be­ing re­spon­si­ble and be­ing manly.

Is that rea­son enough to vote for the EFF?

For that, many black peo­ple have given him the thumbs up and con­tinue to see a man on a mis­sion in him. The con­ser­va­tive in me also agrees that get­ting mar­ried is a big deal to such a fairly young leader as Malema.

Malema has shown in­cred­i­ble weight­loss. With­out him scream­ing at us every time he is on the podium, look­ing at him sends a strong mes­sage that says: peo­ple can and should lead a healthy life­style.

Is that rea­son enough to vote for the EFF?

When you lis­ten to Malema now when he speaks, the an­gry, in­sult­ing and per­haps even child­ish ways have dis­ap­peared. He ar­tic­u­lates his points very well. He speaks calmly even when re­spond­ing to some­thing provoca­tive. He com­mands re­spect now more than ever.

It re­ally gives me goose­bumps when he starts talk­ing. He is rel­e­vant, and well in­formed.

Let us not for­get his past. Many want to cru­cify Malema for his for­mer life. I am call­ing it for­mer be­cause I strongly be­lieve that he has changed. Is that rea­son enough to vote for the EFF?

I be­lieve Malema was a vic­tim of cir­cum­stances which could have eas­ily been in­flu­enced by those who knew bet­ter with­out him re­al­is­ing that he was get­ting him­self into fu­ture trou­ble.

So, for all that, I for­give him. Be­cause his past is the least of my wor­ries. Is that rea­son enough to vote for the EFF?

On the pol­icy matters of his party, it is a very tricky.

There are seven car­di­nal, non-ne­go­tiable pil­lars of the EFF.

I, like many other young black South Africans, am long­ing for land. We dream about land, but we want to work the land, not just own it.

The African econ­omy has to ben­e­fit Africans. We all want a cor­rup­tion-free govern­ment. So, out of the seven pil­lars of the EFF, it is only the na­tion­al­i­sa­tion of mines, banks, and other strate­gic sec­tors of the econ­omy that I haven’t got my head around. The jury is still out on that one.

So, for a young man who I be­lieve was de­ceived by his lead­ers, by peo­ple who I sup­pose were his men­tors, and later turned his life around to build such a mas­sive and pro­gres­sive po­lit­i­cal party, I salute Malema.

But could I vote EFF in 2019? Hon­estly, the an­swer is in the se­cret bal­lot. Cha­bal­ala is the founder of the Young Men Move­ment. E-mail: ka­be­lo03cha­bal­ala@gmail. com; Twit­ter: @Ka­be­loJay; Face­book: Kabelo

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