Closing the EFF’s national people’s assembly in Bloemfontein yesterday, party president Julius Malema called on members to “block mines” in which magnate Patrice Motsepe (African Rainbow Minerals), Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa ( Lonmin) and National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete (Gold Fields) had interests.
Malema described the proposed mass action as a protest against the way in which black economic empowerment benefited only a few wealthy, politically connected individuals instead of communities.
“We target these companies not because of the perceived ANC sympathies of the beneficiaries but because the money should be put to use to empower communities, and these people are the faces of the few who have become rich rather than creating community trusts,” he said.
Malema said yesterday the EFF intended always to act “within the law and the constitution. We are a disciplined organisation.”
He said land grabs were necessary to prevent the “land issue from leading to the civil strife it has caused in the rest of Africa”.
Police recently removed land invaders organised by the EFF from an area near Nelmapius in Pretoria. The squatters christened the area Malemaville.
But political analyst Ralph Mathekga said the EFF was being “disingenuous”.
“The biggest contradiction with the EFF is that you have a party that agrees to be in parliament and therefore agrees to be bound by the [legal] processes of that institution but chooses to use extra-legal means to achieve its objectives. It is disingenuous,” he said.
“[Malema’s] words would carry weight, perhaps, if they had refused to take part in elections and chosen to go outside the parliamentary process, but they have chosen not to do so. I think they are concerned about being seen to be swallowed up by parliamentary processes. No one is stopping them abdicating their positions in parliament.”
With only 25 seats in parliament, the EFF has so far failed to influence policy positions. It has instead resorted to showmanship, best characterised by the August 21 “pay back the money” chanting.
Political analyst JP Landman said the EFF’s utterances were good for democracy.
“What it has done is force people to take a stand. Since the EFF has come to parliament, the ANC has come out saying it is committed to land reform.”
The ANC, Landman said, was committed to land reform within the context of Section 25 of the constitution, which stipulated that property may be expropriated only by law, with payment of compensation.