The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) is not only flexing its political muscle but is also pushing to re-establish its centrality in a coalition government‚ say analysts.
On Tuesday EFF leader Julius Malema told the National Assembly that his party was planning on pushing for a motion of no confidence in Democratic Alliance (DA) Nelson Mandela Bay (NMB) mayor Athol Trollip.
Malema said this was a “warning shot” aimed at getting the DA to show their commitment to their uncompromising approach to land distribution.
This came after the DA refused to support a EFF-sponsored motion that could end in a constitutional change to allow land expropriation without compensation. The EFF motion was overwhelmingly passed.
The DA and EFF formed a tentative relationship after the 2016 local government election – a partnership which saw a DA mayor installed in Nelson Mandela Bay‚ Tshwane and Johannesburg metros.
Political analyst Khaya Sithole said that the EFF simply wanted all parties to be aware of its role as a dealmaker and kingmaker‚ and that it didn’t want to be undermined because they had the power to abandon the coalition at any point.
“Having forced the ANC to yield on all the demands they made in 2016‚ they feel they can now reinforce the message to their electorate that they are not permanent bedfellows with the DA and are always ready to abandon them‚” Sithole said.
Of the three metros the DA governs‚ NMB is the easiest one to target as the EFF is still betting the ANC has no credible candidate out there‚ he said.
“So they can say – we opened up the conversation but the ANC failed to present anyone suitable. This helps diminish the suspicion that they want to keep the DA in power but also enables them to reflect the ANC as a party devoid of leadership.
“The strategy could have been applied in Johannesburg and Tshwane but the politics of optics dictate the white face of the coalition is better for the EFF narrative than targeting Msimanga and Mashaba who – in their councils – have actually delivered on the demands made by the EFF‚” said Sithole.
Sithole said it was conceited of the EFF to pretend that the DA’s land position was unknown before now.
“And if they decide to collapse coalitions then the DA should be able to use that and explain that it is the EFF that is duplicitous and collapsing coalitions for its own ends rather than the needs of the people.” Sithole said.
Political risk analyst‚ Dr Mzukisi Qobo‚ said that although it was difficult to understand the motives of the EFF‚ one thing was clear: “They are simply flexing their political muscle since they know that the DA needs them to govern.”
In a statement released by DA Eastern Cape leader Nqaba Bhanga party said the EFF’s political “schizophrenia” will only harm the people of Nelson Mandela Bay.
“For the EFF to suggest that the ANC has the ability to present a credible candidate is unthinkable. Many of the country’s problems are of the ANC’s making‚ regardless of who leads the organisation at all levels. The DA along with its coalition partners will continue to serve the people of NMB‚ even if the EFF would like to see the municipality collapse under the ANC corruption‚” Bhanga said.