Has The EFF Resorted To A Culture Of Violence?

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The radical, ultra-left red berets have brought their fight back to the streets after a string of successful legal crusades last year.

HUFFPOST By Amil Umraw

Source: Has The EFF Resorted To A Culture Of Violence?

he Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has been making headlines since the weekend, spearheading fierce protest action on racially driven issues.

The radical, ultra-left red berets — who earned their reputation as a protest movement through their parliamentary antics and violent student protests, among other things — have brought their fight back to the streets after a string of successful legal crusades last year.

But why now?

Why is it that — after a year of being at the forefront of historic court cases that led to votes of no confidence being held by secret ballot and to Parliament being forced to review its rules for impeachment — has the EFF again resorted to rabble-rousing?

he Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has been making headlines since the weekend, spearheading fierce protest action on racially driven issues.

The radical, ultra-left red berets — who earned their reputation as a protest movement through their parliamentary antics and violent student protests, among other things — have brought their fight back to the streets after a string of successful legal crusades last year.

But why now?

Why is it that — after a year of being at the forefront of historic court cases that led to votes of no confidence being held by secret ballot and to Parliament being forced to review its rules for impeachment — has the EFF again resorted to rabble-rousing?

On the streets, the EFF’s Student Command was at the forefront of the #FeesMustFall movement, while party leader Julius Malema also found himself in hot water over his radical and inciting comments on land redistribution.

It seemed last year that the party matured, using the judicial system and clever lawyers to spearhead their fight against Zuma. This past week, however, the party showed a regression.

Independent political analyst Molifi Tshabalala said that one of the reasons behind Saturday’s violent H&M outburst could have been to distract from ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa’s January 8 statement – which had almost reached its end when the protest began.

“It is [a strategy of anarchism], one that is wrong for the country right now. We don’t have a unifier like we did in Nelson Mandela; there is a leadership vacuum in that type of leadership. The EFF is not occupying that space – they are exploiting it for their own benefit,” he said.

“Their strategy depends on what is needed at the time; it varies. I don’t think they have a strategy on how to deal with Ramaphosa as yet. They are aware the ANC took resolutions at their conference from a populist point of view, so now they are putting them to the test.”

Politics expert Theo Venter said the EFF, by protesting unlawfully after a court decision was made in the case of Hoërskool Overvaal, is undermining the judicial system that it “got right” last year.

“Now it seems like the party is using the courts for their political gain, and not respecting its decisions outside of that. What will happen if the court some day rules against the EFF? Last year they used the rule of law to their advantage; now they are back to their old ways,” he said.

“The EFF is playing the racial card. Ramaphosa is going back to the Freedom Charter and national integration, and if that theme gets traction, the EFF will increase their antics. They will only get their political advantage [if] racial polarisation widens.”