Much of the EFF's campaign culture seems to be borrowed from the ANC; displays of ostentation, for one, and the prominence of a figurehead.
Rewind to a week ago. The Economic Freedom Fighters' (EFF's) motorcade snakes through the eastern Rustenburg townships, a mix of RDP houses, bonded structures, backyard shacks and informal settlements. The aim: to drum up support ahead of the party's launch in Marikana.
Miniature red party flags clipped to the windows flap in the wind. Branded and postered vehicles, ranging from Toyota Tazzes to Range Rovers and BMW X5s ride in single file (sometimes zigzagging), intermittently blasting their hooters, while someone in a vehicle ahead of the motorcade announces the rally through a loudhailer.
The cars are mostly packed with supporters in party colours, and a soundtrack blares from a car.
A CD marked with a label that reads "Asijiki, EFF soundtrack" is cued. The group, save for a phone number and an instruction to contact Dr Mphuke on the label, is unidentifiable, even to the people playing it.
It sounds like a traditional gospel ensemble, mostly reiterating a phrase borrowed from ANC Youth League days: "Asijiki" [we will not turn back]. In fact, much of the EFF's campaign culture seems to be borrowed from the ANC; displays of ostentation, for one, and the prominence of a figurehead.
It is mid-afternoon. The 10-car motorcade winds through a quiet Moriting extension 23, Paardekraal, Sunrise Park extensions 9 and 10, and the Siza informal settlement, which is close to an Amplats shaft of the same name.
It is in the poorer neighbourhoods that indifference turns to genuine elation. In the cars, the "volunteers" – some of them young, unemployed women from nearby Photsaneng – teach me several adaptations that have become EFF songs. Most of the songs hammer President Jacob Zuma ("Zuma can you see your hiding coming") and praise Julius Malema ("they don't know Malema, they haven't seen nothing yet").
At the next stop, a Sunrise Park primary school courtyard, Sam Tshabalala, a member of the party's central command team, explains that the EFF advocates nationalisation of the mines so that the minerals can "create jobs". On land, he says: "People think because they have a stand for their shack, they have land. You don't have land."
Tshabalala quickly runs through the party's policies: MPs will use public services, they will enable free quality education and free quality healthcare. "We'll make sure that, in public hospitals, you'll get the treatment that people get in private hospitals," he says.
The crowd thins slightly, perhaps because of Tshabalala's reliance on English. "If we do what Mugabe did, other African states will follow, and we'll own the land we have," he says.
Later on, the volunteers I'm travelling with tell me they are headed back to Photsaneng. There is talk of going to a local drinking spot, but most people head off to a meeting house where a braai is set up.
Most of the volunteers are women in their 20s. They say that they have to volunteer before they can officially join the party. Phemelo Moraupe, says: "This party will bring change. The way Malema is speaking, it shows that we will get jobs in the mines because right now you have to bribe."
Another woman, Thato Molotsane, says she will vote for the first time in next year's elections. Her vote will go to the EFF because "maybe Malema will come up with things the ANC didn't bring".
She doesn't specify what, but adds: "Malema is young. He understands what the youth want. Even if he makes mistakes, he is still young and can correct those mistakes."
Another volunteer alludes to a generation gap in Photsaneng, in which parents are sticking to their ANC guns, but the youth is choosing Malema because "he is intelligent, he makes his point and doesn't change it to suit anyone. As far as we can see, there's no improvement in the ANC."