EFF paints KZN red but can they win the Indian vote?
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Durban - With the ANC amid a fall from grace caused by factions within the party, the EFF appears to be swooping in for the kill in KwaZulu-Natal in an attempt to secure some of the ground lost by the governing party during the recent local government elections.
The EFF gained significant ground in KZN, especially Durban, where they obtained 10.48% of the vote.
But with EFF leader Julius Malema publicly burning his bridges with the Indian population, a large portion of which reside in eThekwini, can the red berets actually win the vote and govern KZN?
After years of trash talk which bordered on hate speech against Indians, it may prove to be a difficult task, according to political analysts Ralph Mathekga and Bheki Mngomezulu, who spoke to Independent Media on Friday.
After the increased level of support shown during the elections in KZN, the EFF decided to host a thank-you rally in Durban for its supporters, on January 8 – the day of the ANC’s 110th birthday celebration in Polokwane.
According to Mathekga, as the governing party’s faction further hurts its ability to properly govern the country and deliver basic services to its people, the EFF could be using the opportunity as a springboard to advance its position in the province.
“The way in which the EFF is moving in KZN, on the back foot of the tension in the ANC, just shows you that the gap that has been left by the ANC is available for taking. And the EFF is positioning itself to take it up. Politics does not allow for a faction. It is not necessarily their’s, as there are no guarantees here.
“He (Malema) has consistently attacked the Indian community, so I would imagine that his idea of expansion in KZN is not something you can say is based on politics, again he is just taking advantage. There is still tension there,” Mathekga said.
With Indians making up around a quarter of the population in Durban, plotting a political course forward for the EFF may be a daunting task, given Juju’s history with people of Indian descent.
“Of course, we know that the EFF wants to make inroads in eThekwini for a number of reasons. They will definitely gain something, but I don’t think they will succeed in getting the Indian vote because you also have the DA, the IFP and the ANC, all of them are vying for the Indian vote, so I don't think the EFF will be taken seriously,” Mngomezulu said.
As the party set out on expanding its influence in KZN ahead of the 2024 elections, its senior leaders slaughtered four cows in Inanda, north of Durban, on Friday as part of a feast for supporters ahead of its “Thank you rally” on Saturday.