Julius professes to be South Africa’s premier corruption buster yet he is implicated in financial imbroglios with Brett Kebble whilst a member of the ANCYL. Julius pays homage to the poor at every turn yet he himself dresses in faux Gucci style Tuxedo at an EFF party in Sandton immediately after the Manifesto launch as if his forbearance in having to dress down with his beloved poor had to be erased. Malema bemoans fraudulent leadership votes yet he himself rose in the ANCYL using those tactics.
Main picture: Members of Julius Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) (in red) clash with security officials after being ordered out of the chamber during President Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation address in Cape Town, February 12, 2015. The opening of South Africa’s parliament descended into chaos on Thursday as security officers fought with far-left Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) lawmakers after they disrupted President Jacob Zuma’s speech.
Julius is everything and nothing. His espousal of Populist rhetoric places him squarely in the mould of a South American or African President like Hugo Chavez or Robert Mugabe who both unwittingly destroyed their respective economies. Despite abundant proof north of the Limpopo of the disastrous consequences of the indigenisation of agriculture where, from being self-sufficiency on taking power in 1980, to now, when Zimbabwe is forced to import 90% of its food requirements, Julius still espouses the self-same failed policies. Julius even went from the sublime to the ridiculous at the manifesto launch at the Orlando stadium by offering his supporters as trainers to coach the white farmers to become more productive!
I would like to paraphrase a famous adage, “History teaches future generations nothing” even when the evidence is in front of one’s eyes. Maybe I should invite Julius for tea with my Zimbabwean gardener. Let him explain to Mr Malema what the consequences were to Zimbabwe’s economy of these lamentable policies.
Amongst the issues Keith will raise is the fact that he was taxed over R 1000 Import Duty this Christmas for groceries for his starving family. These taxes were recently imposed to ensure that only locally grown groceries were available in Zimbabwe despite their being none. Of course like all politicians, an extraneous external factor will be blamed for their self-inflicted ruinous policies. In this case it was the sanctions against Mugabe’s inner sanctum.
So much for the wisdom for Julius’ friends and role models!
Amongst the 20 proposals on the Manifesto, was one that stipulated that 40% of all goods sold at supermarkets had to be manufactured, grown or produced locally. By way of elaboration he explained that he meant within the municipal boundary of that supermarket, the objective being to provide local employment.
For the economically illiterate, such as many EFF supporters are, this implies a slew of local jobs in EFF controlled municipalities but for those who ponder the consequences for a nanosecond longer, the illogicality of such a brain storm reveals an economic nightmare.
Let us take a small town such as Grahamstown in the Albany district. Apart from some pineapples grown in the adjacent Alexandria district, all that is produced locally is milk, some meat and some fruit and vegetables. Even in the latter categories much is “imported”: bananas from Natal, grapes from the Western Cape et cetera. What Malema fails to understand is that even in the case of such items as chicken and meat, the supermarket chains conclude deals with major groups to provide this stuff nationally thereby precluding local sourcing.
With electronic goods, the situation is even more stark. Items such as cell phones are only produced in a dozen factories around the world. In an integrated world, many countries cannot justify producing the whole basket of their national requirements and that situation now even includes the USA.
Intellectually I would rate Malema as economically illiterate, just like the ANC. The way in which an economy operates is alien to them. An interview with the MEC in charge of Hospitals in Gauteng showcased that lack of understanding. In reply to a question on how prices at private hospitals in Gauteng could be reduced, she proposed limiting the construction of new hospitals in the province. The logic was that the FEWER the number of hospitals, the lower the prices. She would have failed Economics 101 dismally. Here one is taught what has been conclusively proved over centuries. The underlying principle of supply and demand dictates that increased supply – that is more hospitals available – will REDUCE prices and not increase them.
Apart from this blind spot, Malema also displays incipient signs of the classical revolutionary / fascist / tyrant-in-training persona. The first clue of this inclination is his appellation: Commander-in-Chief. Even his rotund visage is reminiscent of Sergeant / General Idi Amin. His threat to overthrow the ANC either through insurrection or an army mutiny is seditious and at the very least irresponsible.
Like a South African version of Donald Trump, Julius is prone to liberally insult all and sundry.
These might make great sound-bites in the Orlando Stadium in Soweto, but they are neither appropriate nor Presidential. His wit gevaar tactics are particular insulting to whites.
In contrast to these inanities, some policy proposals are worthwhile adopting. I will list a handful arising from the Manifesto Launch:
- Corrupt councillors will be fired with immediate effect – I wish that this were possible
- Councillors have to reside in the area that they represent – great idea
- Councillors cell phone numbers must be public knowledge and they must be available 24 hours a day – currently 702 Talk Radio cannot even get government or parastatal spokesmen on the line – Hence another excellent idea
- EFF will hire based on qualifications and not political allegiance – Does that imply the death of cadre deployment so beloved of the ANC? What about Affirmative Action?
- No consultants will be employed. The person employed to perform a job MUST perform that job – hooray
- Municipalities must be open six days a week in order to allow their services to be accessed – why is nobody else espousing this
- No bicycle lanes will be built while people live in shacks
- No services will be provided in exchange for sex
- Municipalities must bury the dead for free
- RDP houses must be large enough that the parents have a separate room in order that they do not have sex in front of their children!
After some excellent suggestions, the Manifesto then declares that EFF municipalities will expropriate land without compensation – but what about the Constitution. moralty, legality et cetera.
Just when I am attempting to understand the contradictions that Julius represents, yet another inconsistency arises. According to the DA, during the budget vote on the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, EFF MP, Nazir Paulsen referred to DA MP, Yusuf Cassim as a “K****”.
In Paulsen’s defence, the EFF claim that the K-word was not used in a racist sense but rather to imply that the DA MP was an infidel! How can the EFF condone such an insensitive comment?
From the Manifesto Launch it is clearly evident that Malema is a masterful orator as he literally had the audience eating out of his hands. Unlike the listless crowds at the ANC’s Manifesto Launch in PE, in this case the audience eagerly awaited the entry of Malema and his entourage. The vibe was electric. With a stadium packed to capacity, Malema weaved his magic. He was unflinching in his criticism of the party whose leader a few years prior he would kill for but now he would kill. The receptive audience barely noticed his cavalier marshalling of the facts posing stark alternatives some wonderful with others extremely dangerous.
Does the rise of Malema scare you like it scares me?
I am deeply alarmed by his often anarchistic solutions which will lead to tears.
South Africa is a society is dire need of reconciliators and not rash rabble rousers with glib solutions. The public persona of the EFF is that of a bunch of youths disconnected from the world of wisdom. Instead he focuses on the malcontented unemployed black youth promising sublime dreams with facile solutions.
Such promises can be no more than platitudes unless the economy grows significantly.
But like all Populists, their glib solutions of printing money, financing unprofitable industries, expropriating property and redistributing wealth can only have one outcome: economic calamity.
That is why I am so afraid for our beautiful land.