Daily Maverick (Johannesburg)

1 June 2014

South Africa: EFF - the Revolution Is Now Inside Parliament, and Will Be Televised

Photo: Sapa
Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema, right, takes the Oath of Office wearing red workers' overalls along with other members of his party during the swearing in of MP's as South Africa's fifth Parliament convenes for the first time in Cape Town.

analysis

In the run-up to the elections, the EFF revealed themselves to be adept both at political theatre and at tapping into a vein of deep discontent among South Africa's working class in particular. Confounding the expectations of some cynics, they have won 25 seats in the National Assembly. But now that the time for campaign stunts is over and the hard graft of the fifth parliament has to begin, what can we expect from their elected representatives? Commander-in-Chief Julius Malema was on hand to explain to journalists on Sunday.

For a party established less than a year ago, the Economic Freedom Fighters sure know a thing or two about politics. They know, for instance, that press conferences on a Sunday are an almost guaranteed way of winning media attention, because there's much less deemed 'newsworthy' officially happening on that day.

But this probably wasn't the only reason why the EFF's parliamentary briefing won a high turn-out of journalists. The other intriguing factor is that the EFF now has to shape-shift into an outfit prepared to take on the daily work of parliamentary process. They have successfully established themselves as an alternative voice on the outside. But it...

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