Johannesburg - The war of words between the ANC and the Economic Freedom Fighters escalated on Tuesday, with the governing party accusing the EFF of using the same “paramilitary” tactics as the German fascist dictator Adolf Hitler to mobilise support.
The ANC also accused the EFF of adopting the same cynical position as the DA to oppose any of its proposals as a way to delegitimise and weaken it and, ultimately, dislodge it from power.
These propensities, the governing party said, were part of the “massive change” in Parliamentary politics it had witnessed since the May elections.
“South Africa has also witnessed the entering of a fascist movement into our parliamentary politics. This movement used uniforms (of maids and miners) to mobilise in the same way that Hitler used brown shirts in the 1930s,” ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said on Tuesday, at the post-lekgotla media briefing in Joburg.
EFF members clashed last week with the police in the Gauteng legislature when their protest march over the banning of their MPLs wearing red overalls with party insignia turned violent. Dozens of EFF members, led by their commander, Julius Malema, stormed the legislature.
Mantashe said this behaviour was part of a disturbing, growing trend.
“The worrying factor in this regard is the EFF’s use of anarchy and destruction as their modus operandi. It fits into the paramilitary content of their strategy, which shows early signs of a rebel movement designed and calculated to undermine democracy and state institutions,” Mantashe said.
Malema hit back, branding Mantashe “a joke” for comparing the EFF to the paramilitary, Nazi Germany of Hitler.
“We don’t take that (accusation) seriously, because whatever Mantashe says, he remains a joke. We won’t respond to him because there is no political basis in what he thinks is political analysis,” Malema responded.
“When people can’t fault you on issues, they engage in character assassination. We are happy that they are not presenting any counter-arguments.”
Mantashe had also suggested that the DA and the EFF were colluding to wantonly oppose the ANC without considering the governing party’s proposals.
“Whether the proposal makes sense or not, both the DA and the EFF have taken a position of adamant and dogmatic opposition to any proposal of the ANC. Indeed, their interest is the same – that of delegitimising and weakening the ANC as a liberation movement – and with the intention of dislodging it,” Mantashe said.
This tendency was part of a growing trend to undermine the ANC, he added.
Malema denied that his party was in agreement with the DA.
“It’s not true. That’s a lie. The DA agrees with them on the NDP (National Development Plan) and we disagree.
“There is no single thing that the EFF and the DA agree on. It’s only the neo-liberal policies that the ANC and DA agree. If there are any parties that go to bed together, it’s the ANC and the DA,” Malema said.
Part of the DA’s strategy included taking every decision by the ANC to litigation to make it difficult for the legitimate government to govern.
Mantashe said the ANC would, “in countering and dealing with these gutter politics”, not be stooping to these low levels.
DA national spokesman Marius Redelinghuys denied the ANC’s accusations.
“We are a pragmatic opposition that opposes that which is not in the best interest of the society and celebrate that which is,” he said.