White people are scared of an equal society and that's why they are opposed to it, says Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, the EFF's spokesperson.
In a wide-ranging interview with HuffPost about the party, its policies and its future Ndlozi, who has been a constant in the organisation since its formation in 2013, explained the EFF is not running a "genocide project" but rather a "freedom and equality" project".
Besides elaborating on the burning issue of land, one of the party's major policy planks, Ndlozi also explained:
- It will not abolish private ownership should it form a government one day;
- That white South Africans have "a historic duty" in this country; and
- The ANC is beyond saving.
The 32-year old Ndlozi, who earned his doctorate in political sociology from the University of the Witwatersrand in 2017, is considered to be one of the driving forces in the EFF, formed in 2013 after Julius Malema and some of his colleagues were expelled from the ANC Youth League. The party has earned a reputation for brash populism and race-baiting, but is also credited with forcing then president Jacob Zuma to "pay back the money" after it asked the Constitutional Court to consider the public protector's report into Nkandla.
He says the party's policies around land expropriation is aimed at "winning a historical argument". It recently forced a vote in the National Assembly on the issue which led to a resolution instructing the constitutional review committee to investigate the matter.
"A lot of people say we are going to end property rights, that's not true, it's alarmism and they say that we are going to end private property, that's also not true...We are talking about a correction of a historical injustice. In 24 years, we gave a market exchange a chance and it didn't work. It didn't work because a lot of white people hold onto their land and also where restitution has taken place, it has been corrupt," he says.
"There is a historic duty for white people to realise that nobody punished them for apartheid, nobody is even calling for punishment, people are calling for equality. Let land ownership reflect the demographics.
"If we do land expropriation for equal distribution, the majority of black people are going to own the land. Maybe what white people are really scared of is equality. A situation where black people don't need them.
"They are scared of a truly equal society...It means people begin to look at them as human. That fear must be characterized in its truest forms, it is based on the hatred of black people and the violence associated with it – the denial of true equality. We are not in a genocide project, we never were, we are in a freedom, equality project," Ndlozi argues.
There is no love lost for the ANC, and Ndlozi believes Africa's most venerated liberation movement, the political organisation where he cut his teeth, is beyond saving.
"It could be naïve to think that the reigns of kleptocracy are over because Zuma is no longer a president. Zuma was always not going to be a president forever. But he was obviously the epitome of an otherwise compromised political party that is on its knees when it comes to the abuse of public resources, patronage and nepotism, such that there is no other way of doing politics among them," he says.
"The reason we left the ANC is because we don't think it can be saved from that (corruption)...The ANC is literally Sodom and Gomorrah when it comes to corruption, it is beyond saving."
Ndlozi and the EFF are chuffed at being the spanner in the works in a number of municipalities following the municipal election in 2016. He believes the EFF have caused more councils to be "hung" (municipalities where there is no clear majority) than any other party before it. It has sided with the DA in Tshwane, Johannesburg and Nelson Mandela Bay, although the uneasy union in the latter is on the rocks.
"We hanged more municipalities than it has ever been seen in the history of local government democratic elections in South Africa...That is an indication of the capacity to organize at a national level as well as at a local level. We dedicated 2017 as the year of building the branch and the target was precisely the coastal provinces...We will begin to see a lot of growth translated into votes in 2019 national government elections," he said.
"Who needed to be taught a lesson above the other? The ANC. It seems taking municipalities from them humbled them...We never misled anybody. You ought not to be surprised that we would be doing the same thing," he said.