Johannesburg - The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) is the official opposition and not the DA, says Julius Malema, who accused the party of being “superficial” in its approach to opposition politics.
Malema was responding to a DA’s announcement on Thursday, when the party gave an overview of its performance in Parliament since the fifth term started.
DA parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane and chief whip John Steenhuisen had earlier rated the EFF the worst-performing opposition party in Parliament after it failed to pose a single written question to the executive, and thereby failed to hold the government accountable.
Steenhuisen said the DA has so far asked 701 questions, of which 390 have gone unanswered. He said the DA also managed to table 13 motions with notice and entered 25 objections to votes.
Maimane said “most notably” the EFF asked zero questions of the executive in this term.
“Likewise the ANC has asked zero questions in this term. The lack of questions from the EFF and the ANC is a sign that they do not intend to hold the executive to account. Instead, fights are fought about red overalls and personal medical aid, in place of real substantial debate and holding the executive to account,” Maimane said.
When the numbers are counted, “it is the DA that has truly led the opposition to the governing party”, he added.
“I’m amazed. Yesterday, the EFF found it suitable to object even to all the committee reports tabled in the House. Whether they’d read them or not is another story. There’s this sentiment that comes across that says ‘we will oppose anything’,” Maimane added.
While the ANC likened Malema to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, Maimane said the EFF leader reminded him of Eugene Terre’Blanche, who crashed into the World Trade Centre in Kempton Park, Joburg, while constitutional negotiations were in progress in 1993.
He drew a comparison with the EFF’s run-in with the police after causing mayhem in the Gauteng legislature.
Malema hit back, saying the EFF was not in Parliament to make friends. It was in the committees where the EFF “excels”, he added.
“We are excited about committees. That’s where we narrow our views into sectoral inputs and focus in that manner. Maimane is not in our league. We are at a very high level. He must not play like that. We are the official opposition,” Malema said.
He added that the DA agreed with the ANC on policies like the National Development Plan. “What are they opposing, personalities? It’s a superficial opposition.
“Remember when we started, we said we’ve got 25 MPs and we’re going to bring qualitative inputs, not qualitative questions.
“People don’t even remember Maimane’s response to the State of the Nation,” Malema said.