POLITICS
22/03/2018 04:41 SAST | Updated 26/03/2018 18:06 SAST

Auditing EFF Policy: Has The Party Stuck To Its Guns?

Party policies revolve around seven cardinal pillars.

Julius Malema, leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), raises objections before being evicted from Parliament during President Jacob Zuma's question and answer session in Cape Town.
Mike Hutchings / Reuters
Julius Malema, leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), raises objections before being evicted from Parliament during President Jacob Zuma's question and answer session in Cape Town.

ANALYSIS

The EFF has seven non-negotiable cardinal pillars around which it revolves its actions and policy decisions. Five years since its inception, has the party kept to its core mandate?

It is heading for its second general election in 2019, having had considerably more time to flex its political muscle than in 2014. Then, after just one year as a political party, the EFF secured 6,35% of the total national vote, using these seven pillars to rally support.

Now, four years later, how much has the party done?

1. Expropriation of land without compensation

The first of its cardinal pillars, the EFF believes all land should be transferred to the state, which should administer and use the land for development purposes. This transfer, it says, should happen without compensation and should apply to all South Africans, black and white.

But that does not mean South Africans will own the land given to them. The EFF stipulates that owners will apply for land-use licences, which will be granted for a maximum of 25 years, renewable on the basis that the land is being used as planned.

GIANLUIGI GUERCIA via Getty Images
South African opposition party Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema (2R) talks to the press after staging a walk out during the election by the Members of Parliament of the new South African President on February 15, 2018 in Cape Town.

READ: A Guide To South Africa's Land Debate For Nervous People And Foreigners.

Last month, the EFF tabled a resolution in Parliament to expedite the process of reviewing section 25 of the Constitution to allow for land expropriation without compensation. The motion was passed, with 241 in favour and 83 against. The success saw the EFF force the ANC into a corner on the land debate.

2. Nationalisation of mines, banks and other strategic sectors of the economy

The EFF believes the nationalisation of mineral wealth and financial service providers could result in more revenue for the state, more jobs, more equitable spatial development, better salaries and working conditions in mines and greater levels of economic and political sovereignty.

It advocates for the establishment of a state bank, which it says should be accompanied by the transformation of the financial sector as a whole, particularly banking and insurance industry practices and norms.

City Press reported earlier this month that the party had started preparations to table a private members' bill before the end of June that would seek to amend the SA Post Office (Sapo) Act so that the Postbank could get a licence as a fully fledged stand-alone bank.

Last year, the EFF proposed that Parliament introduce an ownership act stipulating that the state would assume a 51 percent stake in the ownership of banks. The rest, it proposed, would be owned by pension fund institutions, cooperatives and private individuals. The motion was shot down.

AFP Contributor via Getty Images
Supporters of South African radical-left opposition party Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) gesture as they sing, cheer and dance during a mass rally marking the party's fourth anniversary on July 29, 2017 at the Curries Fountain Stadium in Durban. / AFP PHOTO / RAJESH JANTILAL (Photo credit should read RAJESH JANTILAL/AFP/Getty Images)

3. Building state and government capacity

The party's third pillar says that state-owned enterprises and private-sector compliance with the state's developmental targets should not be voluntary, but a mandatory, crucial factor around which the state should be able to use a carrot-and-stick system to enforce transformation.

A small victory in this regard came earlier this year when the party said, according to reports by EWN,it had tabled a successful motion in the Johannesburg Metropolitan Council, pushing for the city to insource all of its contract workers. These include security guards, cleaners, refuse removal workers, drivers and all general workers that are currently working in the metro under various outsourcing companies.

4. Free quality education, healthcare, houses, and sanitation

Another important pillar: the EFF advocates for free education to undergraduate-level tertiary students. The party says the state should build massive capacity in healthcare, and remunerate medical practitioners in a way that attracts the best medical practitioners to the public healthcare sector.

The EFF made public healthcare its focus for 2018 and resolved to establish a public healthcare office that would receive daily complaints from citizens. It warned that it will use this platform to name and shame practitioners and institutions accused of ill-treatment.

It also conducted marches to various healthcare institutions nationwide last month to raise awareness.

The EFF, through its Student Command, was also central in the #FeesMustFall protests at universities throughout the country in 2016 and 2017.

MUJAHID SAFODIEN via Getty Images
TOPSHOT - Students from Vaal University of Technology (VUT) shout slogans next to a burning barricade during clashes with South African anti-riot police and campus security at a demonstration in support of the Fees Must Fall Movement in Vanderbijlpark on October 13, 2016. Weeks of protests at South African universities have targeted tuition fees. / AFP / MUJAHID SAFODIEN (Photo credit should read MUJAHID SAFODIEN/AFP/Getty Images)

5. Labour and minimum wage

The EFF has long been vocal about the national minimum wage.

In its fifth pillar, it says the immediate focus should include, but not be limited to, mine workers, farm workers, private security guards, domestic workers, cleaners, petrol attendants, waiters and waitresses, and retail stores workers. The approach should, it says, also lead to the abolishment of labour brokers.

The EFF led a mass protest to the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in 2015 demanding the axing of labour brokers from a range of companies listed on the exchange.

It also slammed the proposed National Minimum wage of R3,500 per month, saying the figure should be no less than R4,500.

6. Development of the African economy

The EFF believes the state's capacity to do big business should be expanded to the African continent. State-owned enterprises, its says, should heavily invest in the infrastructure and industrial development of the African continent.

Besides being vocal about the issue in Parliament, during press conferences and public rallies, the EFF has made little progress in this regard.

Siphiwe Sibeko / Reuters
Anti-Zuma protesters and members of South Africa's ultra-left Economic Freedom Fighters party (EFF), hold a placard ahead of the vote of no confidence against President Jacob Zuma, in Pretoria, South Africa August 8, 2017. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

7. Open, accountable, corrupt-free government

The EFF has been most productive in the fight against state capture and corruption.

It was at the forefront of pivotal court actions which left Parliament, and the ANC, red-faced. It initiated two actions against former president Jacob Zuma, alleged to be at the centre of the state capture saga.

READ: Mogoeng Mogoeng Leaves It All Up To Mbete