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Johannesburg - Emboldened by the registration of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) as a political party by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), Julius Malema blasted the “murderous regime” and Afrikaner “rightwingers”.
The former ANC Youth League leader said they had tried to block his party’s participation in next year’s general elections.
The EFF’s entry into electoral politics is seen as a threat to the ANC, whose members and voters Malema is targeting.
In an interview on Thursday, a buoyant Malema promised to cobble together a coalition of like-minded parties, civil society, trade unions and religious formations to replace President Jacob Zuma’s government.
He said the EFF would be launched at Marikana early next month, where its certificate of recognition would be displayed to party members.
“The murderous regime and Afrikaner rightwingers have failed to stop the birth of this gigantic organisation and they will continue to fail,” Malema said. “EFF is here to stay.”
Malema said the EFF would immediately hold a strategic session to plot its strategy for next year’s elections.
“The EFF will be contesting elections in order to be government, not in order to be a toothless opposition party in various parliaments and legislatures.
“In all our articulations, we have always said we were the government in waiting,” he said.
He reiterated that the EFF would target “white monopoly capital” in order to “restore the dignity” of black people.
Freedom Front Plus chief whip Corné Mulder, whose party had objected to the EFF’s registration, said the IEC had informed the FF Plus of its decision and “there is nothing we can do about it”.
He said Malema’s “irresponsible” utterance had vindicated the party.
“The latest remarks by Malema vindicate why we oppose their registration, because he’s making inflammatory and inciting statements,” Mulder said.
“Mr Malema must understand that he can say all sorts of irresponsible and emotional statements, but we are not doing that. We are more mature and we act in the best interest of all South Africans.”
Three weeks ago, the FF Plus asked the IEC to dismiss the EFF’s application for registration on constitutional grounds. It cited Malema’s conviction for hate speech and the EFF’s nationalisation policy.
“The EFF propagates the nationalisation of land, mines, banks and other assets without compensation and in particular on a racial basis. It is unconstitutional,” FF Plus chairman Pieter Groenewald said at the time.
Groenewald also argued that the word “fighters” wasn’t suitable for a democratic system, where “political parties compete in elections in an orderly and democratic fashion”.
In a statement earlier, EFF national spokesman Mbuyiseni Ndlozi thanked the IEC for refusing to bow to pressure not to approve the party.
“A fighting force for change, a radical, militant, innovative and determined organisation, is now going to be an option to all the existing political parties, which have collectively failed to transform South Africa,” he said.
Ndlozi added that the EFF would carry out its “obligation” to redistribute South Africa’s wealth with “military precision”.
The party would nationalise mines, provide free, quality education and healthcare, fight corruption and industrialise the economy.
“The oppressed and exploited people of the world should now expect real anti-imperialist actions and a political programme which will practically and programmatically undermine neoliberalism and global capitalism,” Ndlozi added.