COMMENT: When personal vendetta trumps national interest: The tragedy of EFF & MK EFF leader, Julius Malema

THE reasons behind the collapse of negotiations for a Government of National Unity (GNU) between South Africa’s revolutionary party African National Congress and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and Umkhonto Wesizwe (MK) have exposed the two parties as driven by selfish vendetta ahead of the national interest.

Both EFF and MK led by Mr Julius Malema and former President, Jacob Zuma respectively are breakaways from the revolutionary ANC not out of any major ideological disputes but due to clashes over personalities and inflated egos.

After the recent South African elections failed to yield an outright winner, the ANC with the most votes at 40 percent invited fellow parties, EFF and MK included, to the negotiating table towards the formation of a GNU.

Yesterday, in an interview with a local radio station, the ANC chief whip Mr Mdumiseni Ntuli revealed for the first time why negotiations for a GNU with the MK and EFF collapsed.

He said the EFF wanted to work with ANC alone or with the MK because they did not want to work with the Democratic Alliance (DA).

Ironically, the EFF has previously worked with the DA against the ANC and now accuses the party of “selling out” for entering into a GNU with the DA and other political parties including Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), GOOD, and the Patriotic Alliance (PA).

“…we reminded them that on many occasions, the EFF has taken positions in support of the DA against the ANC and they argued that the reason they adopted that position is because part of their strategic objective is to annihilate the ANC. 

“…so we said to them if you are working for the destruction of the ANC and you are actively campaigning for that, why do you think we need to trust you more than others who are equally working for the same mission and why do you want us to believe that you stand a better chance working with us to advance the interest of our country without (you) necessarily executing this mandate of destruction.”

As for the MK, Mr Ntuli said MK wanted to work with the ANC alone with the precondition that the revolutionary party dumps President Ramaphosa as its leader.

Secondly, he said, they wanted to engage in a detailed assessment of President Ramaphosa in the past five years as, in their view, they were convinced he does not deserve to come back as the country’s president.

“We said to them look, you have JZ as your leader, we don’t want to talk about him and to decide who becomes your leader.  

“We have a leader as the ANC who was elected by the National Conference, we can’t accept that you are going to tell us that the conditions under which you are going to work with us will be the removal of our own leader,” said Cde Ntuli. 

If an election fails to produce a winner as happened in South Africa, it is normal to go to the negotiating table to come up with a coalition government. By making outrageous demands both the EFF and MK sacrificed national interest on the altar of egotistic politics.

It escaped them that while they could have been king-makers, they were not the kings.


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