South Africa remains a conflicted country, and a civil war could be looming after Julius Malema’s, the leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), speech threatening to remove the current ruling African National Congress (ANC) government. The EFF is a radical and revolutionary movement that wants the upcoming municipal elections to be free and fair, based on democratic principles. Malema said in a statement that the party would remove the government with the “barrel of a gun” and are running out of patience. Referring to the current situation in South Africa, the previous elections that were rigged and the deployment of the army to quell peaceful voter marches is not acceptable to Malema.
The ANC government has charged Malema with treason and is taking the matter of threats serious. Inciting violence is a treasonable act. Malema is not shaken over the charges and will meet the ANC in court. The aggressive action by Malema happened due to the ruling party avoiding and interpreting the law to accommodate the selfish needs of the party only. It is the disrespecting of the law and trying to outsmart the public that has angered the EFF party. The typical behavior of the ANC can result in anarchy, and it is people like Malema that would make utterances igniting the flames of civil war.
The ANC is crying foul against Malema and the EFF party while continuing to violate the laws of South Africa. The ANC expect the judiciary to act harshly against Malema while the president and cabinet ministers of the ANC do not respect the law. The ANC remains above the law and should be the last to cry out. Perhaps Malema is acting on the statement issued by Nelson Mandela during 1993. “If the ANC does to you what the Apartheid government did to you, then you must do to the ANC what you did to the Apartheid government.” The ANC government has failed to restore voter confidence and continues to mislead the majority.
The utterance by Malema was a political statement and will not literally take up arms to flame a civil war. Malema shouts out misleading statements all the time, recently saying that Jacob Zuma, the president of South Africa, is not the enemy of the people, but that the minority group of white capitalists remained the true enemy.
Recently, the ANC youth league leader Collin Maine said that anybody who disrupts the State of the Nation address must prepare for civil war and will defend the nation. Maine uttered words of treason and as this was in defense of the ruling party, no charges of treason were brought before the judiciary by the EFF. Malema did not threaten action at this time against the youth league but delivered a scathing message against the president and the ANC outside parliament on the night of the state of the national address.
South Africa is an angry nation suffering from the anxieties of the past. The citizens want change and economic freedom, and voters perceive Malema as the person who will bring about radical change for the majority. The statement issued by Malema is similar to previous reckless talk uttered in the past. The ANC is threatened by the popularity of Malema and will create a wave of destruction to curb the vibrant Malema from gaining support. The old loyal supporters of the ANC will not be tempted to support the EFF; it is the younger generation who see Malema as a dynamic leader delivering economic freedom to the oppressed. The question that needs to be asked is whether both the ANC and the EFF have the ability to free the oppressed and place the people above the quarreling of who might be a moral leader for South Africa.
Before the ANC rose to power in 1994, the party said the exact same words as Malema has spoken against the apartheid government. The ANC acted on those words of war wanting to destroy the government and plunge South Africa into chaos. The ANC took up arms, aided and supported by the rest of the world, and now the ANC believes Malema will do the same. A meaningless civil war might happen in South Africa if the ANC rigs the voting again. The EFF will take action; the ANC will once more send the army into areas that need protection and bloodshed will occur. In the end, there will not be enough voters to support both parties and innocent people would have died for the senseless contest between two equally undemocratic parties.
Opinion by Laura Oneale
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