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Johannesburg - The ANC’s new-found love for red berets does not faze the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema, who says it is nothing more than an endorsement.
Malema’s party has made a name for itself with the stand-out red beret worn by party members and supporters, but on Wednesday the ANC distributed 50 000 red berets across Mpumalanga, sparking an outcry.
The ruling party has also accused Malema of copying the beret idea from them.
Malema said that as far as he was aware there has never been a meeting to say that the red beret belonged to the ANC.
“If they are trying to confuse our members, they will not succeed, they will be exposed on the ballot papers. Them copying us also shows the absence of ideas and creativity within the ANC,” he said.
The ANC’s national spokesman Jackson Mthembu said they were “too busy” to talk about berets, they had 102 years of the ANC to celebrate.
“The red berets were worn by our very own Umkhonto we Sizwe soldiers, so we did not copy them. They are copycats themselves.”
For political analyst Protas Madlala, the “ war” over the beret was a sign of very interesting elections to come.
Madlala said the fact that ANC members were now wearing berets was a sign that the they felt threatened.
“There is no other reason why the ANC would suddenly have a love for these berets. They are actually giving Malema a lot of credit,” he said.
“What I have observed many times is that whenever there is a new party, the ANC always feels threatened, no matter how small the party is.”
Malema on Thursday unveiled his plans for the elections. The former ANC Youth League leader said the party would field 400 candidates for the national parliament and the maximum candidates for each provincial legislature.
Malema and advocate Dali Mpofu announced that they would launch the EFF’s party manifesto in Tembisa, Joburg, on February 22.
Malema claimed the party had attracted 400 000 members. – Additional reporting by Baldwin Ndaba