Editorial: We need to talk about the EFF’s wild claims

In a week in which it was confirmed that the economy had contracted in the first quarter of 2018 and the price of petrol went up a whopping 82c a litre, the myth of Ramaphoria — or any expectation that President Cyril Ramaphosa would be a panacea for South Africa’s troubles — was properly dispelled.

It ought to be a moment for opposition parties to assert themselves. But instead, the Democratic Alliance is in a downward spiral and the Economic Freedom Fighters appears to be flailing around, trying to find relevance but just sounding decidedly silly.

When Floyd Shivambu attacked one of the treasury’s deputy directors general, Ismail Momoniat, this week, he invited scrutiny of not just his own knowledge of the way Parliament works and how the treasury corresponds with the finance ministry, but also of the EFF’s own ideologies.

As Eusebius McKaiser points out in the Mail & Guardian this week, the EFF has been treated without much critical analysis since the party was voted into Parliament in 2014. And research from Media Monitoring Africa has shown that the party does receive a disproportionate amount of media coverage relative to its share of the vote. That’s, of course, thanks to its uncanny ability to stir up controversy and manipulate the news agenda.

So the claim that much of what the EFF says, both as a party and in the statements of its senior leaders, goes unchecked holds some merit. It points to the fact that we have been so consumed by the spectre of Jacob Zuma that opposition parties, and opposing ANC factions, have enjoyed far less scrutiny of their own contradictions.

Shivambu made very serious allegations against Momoniat in Parliament this week. He alleged that Momoniat undermines the leadership not only of his own manager but also of the minister and the deputy minister of finance. We’re not even going to touch on the prejudicial framing of these remarks just yet. As an MP, Shivambu cannot expect to raise such a serious allegation in the public sphere without offering some kind of proof for that statement.

We have, however, unfortunately become accustomed to the EFF leadership making bold claims in public. And because some of what the EFF has previously said comforted pre-existing notions about Zuma as the bad guy in this fairy tale, the party was allowed to continue making these statements. And when some of what the EFF said turned out to be true, it further bolstered its ability to continue making wild claims in the public sphere without offering much in terms of proof.

But now we have Shivambu making serious allegations against a treasury employee, just weeks after Julius Malema stood up in the National Assembly to accuse Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene of being “corrupt as hell” — shortly after Shivambu accused Deputy State Security Minister Ellen Molekane of corruption. He was forced to withdraw his comment about Molekane because he had no evidence to back it up. But Malema’s attack on Nene’s credibility must be noted. What exactly has prompted the EFF leaders’ confrontation of Nene and Momoniat?

And then there’s Shivambu’s own barefaced bigotry. So intent is he on painting Momoniat as a usurper of power and influence, he has entirely miscalculated the acumen and work of the very African black treasury staff he claims to be defending. The EFF desperately needs a new script. 


Hlophe complaint is an eerie echo

But the new complaint against the Western Cape judge president is also unprecedented

Mabuza contract grows by R10m

Eskom’s negotiators in a R100-million maintenance contract came back with a proposal to push up the costs

‘There were no marks on his neck’, Neil Aggett inquest...

The trade unionist’s partner at the time he was detained at John Vorster Square says she now believes his death was not a suicide

Study unpacks the ‘hidden racism’ at Stellenbosch

Students say they feel unseen and unheard at the university because of their skin colour

Press Releases

Gender-based violence is an affront to our humanity

Gender-based violence is an affront to our humanity

UK-Africa investment summit 2020: Think Africa Invest SA

UK-Africa investment summit 2020: Think Africa Invest SA

MTN unveils TikTok bundles

Customised MTN TikTok data bundles are available to all prepaid customers on *136*2#.

Marketers need to reinvent themselves

Marketing is an exciting discipline, offering the perfect fit for individuals who are equally interested in business, human dynamics and strategic thinking. But the...

Upskill yourself to land your dream job in 2020

If you received admission to an IIE Higher Certificate qualification, once you have graduated, you can articulate to an IIE Diploma and then IIE Bachelor's degree at IIE Rosebank College.

South Africans unsure of what to expect in 2020

Almost half (49%) of South Africans, 15 years and older, agree or strongly agree that they view 2020 with optimism.

KZN teacher educators jet off to Columbia University

A group of academics were selected as participants of the programme focused on PhD completion, mobility, supervision capacity development and the generation of high-impact research.

New-style star accretion bursts dazzle astronomers

Associate Professor James O Chibueze and Dr SP van den Heever are part of an international team of astronomers studying the G358-MM1 high-mass protostar.