With more than half of votes counted, the new boy and party on the block of South African politics the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) led by Julius Malema 33 has won an astonishing 21 seats. The new EFF party’s chieftain, the red beret rebellious former youth leader of the ANC Malema describes himself as the “commandant-in-chief£ and is now turning politics in post South Africa upside down. Malema holds he represents the future and the ANC represents the past. His former ANC comrades in arms, foreign investors and other stakeholders in Africa’s richest economy do not like the kind of future Malema is promising for the rainbow nation.
Even if he is duly elected an MP, Malema might not be able to keep his seat in parliament. Section 41 (1) c of the South African constitution does not allow anyone whose estate is under sequestration to be a member of parliament. The South African inland revenue Service says Malema owes R16 million (£900.000) and took him to court over the unpaid bill. The revenue service has a provisional sequestration order against Malema and on May 26 2014, the matter will again be in court.
Lawyers for Malema are fighting against the order claiming it is politically motivated but it is clear Malema led a lavish lifestyle way beyond what he earned as youth leader of the ANC. Malema is also facing corruption charges for which he might get a prison sentence if convicted. If the sequestration order is also finalized, he will not be able to be a director of a company or even have a cheque book.
Despite all these problems, Malema led a very colourful campaign and somehow has managed to keep good relations with the media. His unruly behaviour forced the ANC to fire him believing they finished him and his socialist rhetoric off in 2011. His comeback has been spectacular. He tells anyone who wants to know like a cat, he has nine lives. His Zimbabwean style threat to seize land from white South Africans for redistribution is not welcome by most rich white south Africans but is a massive vote winner for poor and dispossessed south African.
Malema also wants the nationalization of mines where dozens of south Africans have been killed after protesting against low wages and bad working conditions. The ANC describes the charismatic Malema as a dangerous demagogue but there is no doubt he has a strong following among dispossessed blacks and most people who believe the ANC has been taking their votes for granted in the last 20 years. Winnie Mandela, still an executive member of the ANC and former wife of Mandela is one of Malema’s high profile supporters
The ruling ANC has already won 261 seats, about 60 percent of the total votes and counting is continuing. The Democratic Alliance, the former apartheid party has already won 89 seats which is more than the 67 they won during the 2009 elections. Final results of the general elections are expected soon