IOA Position Papers

“Honorable Malema, welcome to this House…It will be a tough place for you”: The Economic Freedom Fighters and the threat to ANC hegemony in South Africa

Julius Malema,leader of the EFF Photo courtesy
Julius Malema,leader of the EFF
Photo courtesy

By Sarah Lockwood

The media flurry that has surrounded Julius Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) since their inception has often presented them as a serious threat to ANC hegemony in South Africa. But, while the EFF has the potential to present the greatest electoral threat that the ANC has ever faced, they are currently held back by their limited policy development and choice of unconventional political tactics.

On 31 March 2015, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan made history when he telephoned his rival, Muhammadu Buhari, to concede defeat in the country’s presidential elections. In the days that followed, newspapers around the world published numerous articles praising Jonathan’s peaceful concession, suggesting that this event might be the beginning of something bigger – a continent-wide challenge to entrenched-party rule. If Nigeria, with its history of coups and bloody battles for governmental control, could engage in its first peaceful democratic transition, the articles argued, then perhaps the time is right for the same thing to happen elsewhere.