EFF leader Julius Malema says the ANC has itself to blame for losing some of the country’s richest metros including Johannesburg and Tshwane.
The ruling party had refused to give in to “basic principles” during talks which sought to form government coalitions in 61 hung municipalities where there was no outright winner.
The red berets had demanded, among other things, land expropriation without compensation in six months, the creation of a state bank in 12 months, nationalisation of the SA Reserve Bank in 12 months and the cancellation of student debt in 12 months.
Malema and other opposition parties including the DA, ActionSA, ACDP, UDM and COPE later entered into a deal that would see Herman Mashaba become a mayor.
The DA then backed out of the deal after consulting its federal executive, on the basis that it depended on EFF support for survival, something the DA would never agree to.
In a surprise move earlier this week, the EFF voted against the ANC, effectively putting the DA in charge of Ekurhuleni, Johannesburg and Tshwane. Explaining this, Malema outlined a number of reasons, including the ANC’s poor electoral support.
“We as the collective leaders of the EFF took a correct and justified decision to vote against the ANC in different municipalities. We did so because the people of SA have rejected the ANC and they have sent a clear message that they are sick and tired of the ANC government.”
Malema defended the “politically correct” decision, saying it was in the interest of voters and service delivery.
“We had given the ANC an opportunity to salvage itself by implementing progressive resolutions that would benefit ordinary people.
“We said to the ANC that if there is any basis for them to be in government, it should take progressive policy positions that should benefit all the people of SA.”
Malema accused DA federal chairperson Helen Zille of colluding with ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa to upset the smaller parties.
“Helen Zille had a deal with Ramaphosa to upset the opposition so that Ramaphosa can come out as a saviour of the ANC. We knew of the plan and disrupted that plan.
“Ramaphosa did not bother to talk to anyone because he thought his deal with Zille was a done deal,” he told journalists.
Zille said she was surprised at the outcomes in the Gauteng metros as there had been no deal with other parties. This admission, according to Malema, was proof that Zille was “just contesting” and had a deal with Ramaphosa.
While the ruling party was able to retain the eThekwini metro, Malema said it was because of former president Jacob Zuma’s allies, known as the RET faction.
“Zuma and Ace Magashule rescued the ANC in eThekwini. The question is, what role is Cyril Ramaphosa playing in rescuing the metros?”
DA leader John Steenhuisen also expressed shock at the victory, admitting that he never thought it possible that the Freedom Front Plus and ActionSA would vote with them without the existence of a formal coalition agreement.
While he welcomed their support, he said there should be no expectations for a return on investment by the EFF and ActionSA.
Malema said he was in full agreement with the sentiments.
“We agree with him wholeheartedly. The DA owes EFF nothing and we don’t owe the DA anything. We are not going to have a meeting with the DA in the next five years talking about municipalities and how to manage them,” Malema said.
The decision to vote against the ANC made sense politically for Malema in preparation for the 2024 elections. The ANC’s loss of the metros meant the taps on public funding had been closed, he said.
“We are fixing the country. We are preparing for the future and the ANC is our immediate competitor.”