Julius Malema and the EFF managed to find the necessary funds to register his party’s candidates for the upcoming South African elections at the 11th hour, less than an hour before yesterday’s deadline. This followed an unsuccessful attempt by Malema to sue South Africa’s Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), President Jacob Zuma, and Minister of Home Affairs, Naledi Pandor for charging more than R600,000 or $55,600 for political parties to stand in elections. He has maintained that this capitalist approach is in fact “a war” that is being waged against the poor, and he was not therefore not willing to pay to fight the elections.
Malema launched the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party last July having been expelled from the African National Congress (ANC) the previous year after serving as president of the party’s Youth League for four years, and in other party positions since 1995. Calling himself the party’s commander-in-chief, Malema has vowed to combat corruption in government, fight “white supremacy,” and do everything possible to restore the “dignity” of Africans. He has also said that white South Africans are “welcome to join” the EFF in their bid to redistribute wealth and land.
Over the years Malema himself accumulated significant land and wealth, but last year he lost three properties – a half-built Johannesburg mansion, a family home in Polokwane, and a farm in Limpopo Province – that were seized by the South African taxman and asset forfeiture unit, and auctioned. The auctions raised R9.4 million, the equivalent of about $872,000 at the current rate of exchange. Additionally, he still faces charges of corruption, racketeering, money laundering and fraud, and is out on bail of R10,000 ($928), and has been placed in provisional sequestration.
Julius Malema and the EFF applied to the Pretoria High Court last week for an urgent interdict to reverse legislation that requires all political parties to pay deposits before contesting electoral polls. An initial deposit of R200,000 ($18,546) is required, as well as an additional R45,000 ($4,172) for every province that is to be contested when a party decides to fight South African elections. The application was dismissed with costs by Judge Joseph Raulinga, which means that not only will the EFF have to pay its own legal representatives, but also the state’s legal fees, and the cost of the two advocates who appeared for the IEC. Julius Malema and the EFF announced that they would still contest all nine of the country’s provinces, which meant the party was forced to come up with R605,000 (about $65,000) at the 11th hour on Wednesday March 12.
Malema personally delivered the deposit money and candidate lists to the IEC offices in Pretoria, together with Floyd Shivambu, another controversial previous ANC Youth League member, and Advocate Dali Mpofu. They were seen entering the building carrying three boxes after police had stepped in to stop a scuffle in front of the building. Malema stated the they had complained to the SA Police about this behavior, adding that the police had been “suffering from uncontrollable excitement.”
Addressing the media outside the IEC building, Malema said that he and his supporters had not slept and had spent the past 24 hours running around asking EFF members for money. They had also taken money raised from the sale of T-shirts, red berets, and posters. “Our members responded positively,” he announced. The largest “donation” came from someone from Pretoria who handed over R100,000 ($9,270). However, all the money would need to be repaid after the elections.
Julius Malema and the EFF will announce its election candidates at a media briefing in about two weeks time. He would not confirm that he was the presidential candidate for the EFF and would not say who had been nominated to fight the South African elections. However he stated the list was 99.9 percent “gender balanced,” and it had a mix of ages from different areas. They still had to meet the challenge of achieving a “racial mix,” he said. Having been able to pay the required IEC fees at the 11th hour, Malema confidently stated that his party would “be in government” after the elections.
By Penny Swift