How close is an EFF and ANC toenadering?

Staff Writer | Apr 28, 2019
It seems that a reconciliation between the African National Congress (ANC) and its problematic child, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) could be closer than many think.

Two recent events would make one think that the two parties could start working closely together, in the first steps towards a merger.

Speaking to the media at the Rand Show last week, EFF leader Julius Malema said his party was open to coalitions with the ANC, rather than the Democratic Alliance (DA), as the ANC had ‘not been hostile’. 

The EFF is currently in an effective confidence-and-supply agreement with the DA in Johannesburg and Tshwane, which has given the second-biggest political party control over those two municipalities, as well as in a number of smaller towns in the country. This could indicate that, after the elections, the EFF could withdraw its support and allow the ANC back into power in these two Gauteng metropoles. 

In addition, it is very likely that no party will win a majority in Gauteng on 8 May, and a coalition will be necessary to govern in that province. Mr Malema’s statements seem to indicate his party would be more likely to help keep the ANC in power, rather than allow the DA to govern in Gauteng.

Gauteng is likely the only province where no party will win outright, but the EFF will be hoping to push the ANC hard in places such as Limpopo and North-West. Conversely, the DA has also targeted the Northern Cape as a province where the ANC could be brought under 50% of the vote.

The secretary-general of the ANC, Ace Magashule, also said this week that it was time for Mr Malema and the EFF to rejoin the ANC. ‘I love Julius. I am talking to him to return home,’ Mr Magashule was quoted as saying. 

ANC leaders have in the past called on their party and the EFF to bury the hatchet. Mr Malema’s statements on possible ANC-EFF coalitions could signal the end of the broedertwis.

It is not clear how Mr Malema’s rank-and-file members will feel about the EFF returning to the ANC, but Mr Malema has an iron grip on his party – there is unlikely to be any mutiny by EFF public representatives or ordinary members.

In addition, given Mr Malema’s fondness for outdated economic models, an EFF return to the ANC would likely scupper any (admittedly remote) chance of the ANC implementing much needed market-friendly reforms.


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