What the party believes: The EFF has styled itself as a radical and militant political party. It says it is anti-imperialist and leftist movement with an internationalist outlook which is anchored by popular grassroots formations and struggles. The party draws inspiration from the Marxist-Leninist traditional school of thought in its analysis of state, imperialism, culture and class contradictions within society.
Profile of leader: The EFF is led by Julius Malema, whose party supporters and members refer to as the commander in chief. Malema has led the EFF since its formation in July 2013. Malema has a long political history which started within the ANC. He is known for having been politically active from as early as nine years and was part of the Congress of South African Students which is a student arm of the ANC. He later rose and became involved in the ANC’s Youth League where he later became its president from 2008 to 2012. Malema has always been seen as a controversial figure. In the ANC he was a strong supporter of former president Jacob Zuma and contributed to Zuma’s rise to power. He even threatened to “kill for Zuma” when the former leader was facing a variety of political controversies. Their relationship later soured with Malema and group of ANC Youth League leaders were expelled from the ANC in 2012. Zuma became Malema’s number one enemy. The group's expulsion from the ANC led to the formation of the EFF which was officially launched in July 2013. The party has styled itself as militant and is known to have a unique support base in the country’s mainly young voter base. Malema has remained a controversial figure especially with his outlandish public statements on any given topic. Malema has also faced allegations of corruption and tax avoidance involving a family trust.
History in nutshell: The party was launched in July 2013 by mainly former ANC Youth League leaders and supporters. The party took centre stage in the country’s political scene from the moment it was launched mainly because of large support its leader Julius Malema enjoys. From its launch, it styled itself as a far-left party which draws inspiration from Marxist-Leninist school of thought. It has a huge following amongst young voters and has been able to tap into that support base when it first ran for national elections in 2014. It did well for a party that was launched just a few months before the elections. It won about 6% of the votes and gained 25 seats in Parliament. The party often makes the news for controversial comments made by its leaders. Former president Jacob Zuma became the party’s target after the scandal where state funds were used to fund security upgrades to his home. The EFF chanted “pay back the money” when he was in Parliament or while he was giving the State of the Nation Address. In the last year, the party was plagued with questions around its possible benefit from the collapse of the VBS bank which lost over billions of rand to corrupt dealings. EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu and his younger brother have faced a variety of allegations related to the looting of VBS bank.
The EFF’s position on hot button issues:
LAND: The EFF says if elected it would ensure that section 25 of the Constitution is amended to allow for expropriation of land without compensation. The party believes that all land should be owned by the state for equal distribution. The party says it will end this current form of land ownership in the country which sees large amounts of land being owned by a few people in the country. It says it will abolish foreign land ownership and that 50% of land ownership will be set aside for woman and young people.
CORRUPTION: The party says it will strengthen governance methods in order to pre-empt threats of corruption. It says it will also ban private companies from doing business with the government that can be done by the state. It says It would also ban the use of consultants. It says it will establish state administration courts which will be able to react urgently reports of corruption. It says it will introduce a minimum sentence of 20 years for public servants that are found guilty of corruption, they will also forfeit their pensions should they be found guilty of corruption. The party also says it will protect chapter nine institutions such a the Public Protector and the Auditor General.
GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE: The EFF says it will prioritise women emancipation. The party says it will implement a variety of interventions such as education regarding sexism and patriarchy in the fight against gender-based violence. It says it will implement a variety of legislation and policies, which include educating the police on how to deal with violence against women, in the drive to protect women.
ENVIRONMENT: The EFF says it will the environment through various measures such as increasing the protected area network to ensure that more areas in the country’s eco-system are preserved and protected. It says it will force mining companies that have abandoned mine to come back and rehabilitated. It says it will also introduce programmes which will see the creation of jobs while the country transitions from coal to renewable energy.
FOURTH INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION: The party says it will ensure the rollout of fibre across the country which would see the creation of thousands of jobs. It says it will assist black telecommunications companies to enter the telecom space. It says it will provide free WIFI in all public areas such as hospitals and transport. The EFF says it will drive the creation of ICT manufacturing plants which will have a special focus on creating various technologies It says it will subsidies community media organisation.
CRIME: The party says its approach to crime will consider the fact that it is a result of socio-economic conditions and it will drive efforts to develop communities by providing criminals with jobs and careers. It also plans to open a variety of satellite police stations across the country which would be opened 24 hours a day. It says it will increase the number of police appointed to deal with crime and it will also require that all police stations have DNA kits.
HOUSING: The party says it will provide a spacious and quality house for all and also plans to rezone informal settlements within three years. It says it would subsidize housing financing for middle incomes households and it will ban banks from repossessing people’s houses which have bonds paid up to 50%. It says it will do away with apartheid special planning and will expropriate land closer to cities and build affordable housing developments.