EFF capitalises on internal rifts in ANC with Derek Hanekom revelation

EFF leader Julius Malema's assertion about ANC's Derek Hanekom is not designed to enlighten, but to cause sensation. /Thapelo Morebudi
EFF leader Julius Malema's assertion about ANC's Derek Hanekom is not designed to enlighten, but to cause sensation. /Thapelo Morebudi

It is no secret that in 2017 the EFF and other opposition parties actively lobbied ANC MPs to vote with them in a vote of no confidence against former president Jacob Zuma.

It is also no secret that some MPs and senior leaders of the ANC and its alliance partners were vocal about the damage that support for Zuma was doing to the credibility of the government and the party.

After the UDM succeeded in its court challenge against then speaker of parliament Baleka Mbete's decision to deny a secret ballot, EFF leader Julius Malema openly called for ANC MPs to break ranks with the governing party.

The revelation that Derek Hanekom met with the EFF over the ousting of Zuma should come as no surprise.

Malema's claim that there is a list of ANC MPs who engaged in meetings with the opposition over the ousting of Zuma, should also not raise any alarms.

It is notable that in his naming and shaming of Hanekom for meeting with the EFF, Malema fails to place the meeting in its proper context.

According to his narrative, Hanekom is a mole who fed information to the EFF, making him a disloyal cadre that has betrayed not only Zuma, but the governing party.

But in the period which the said meetings took place, there was a general consensus building outside and within the ANC that Zuma's continued stay at the helm of the government had become detrimental to governance and the country's development.

Civil society, opposition parties and individual members of the ANC came together in various non-partisan guises to drive the same point.

In their own calls to ANC MPs, leaders of opposition parties, including Malema, urged them to place the country and constitution before party and vote to oust Zuma.

Malema is merely taking advantage of the fractious atmosphere within the ANC and fuelling the fire of factionalism and infighting which is already burning so hot.

Malema's timing could not have been more impeccable.

His revelations come off the back of Zuma's statements at the state capture commission, alleging that the ANC is infiltrated by spies, even implicating President Cyril Ramaphosa.

In addition, Ramaphosa, like his predecessor, is embattled, with a dark cloud hanging over his head following the public protector's finding that he misled parliament in respect to a donation made to his campaign bid for the ANC presidency.

Ramaphosa is also facing a credibility challenge over his support of Pravin Gordhan, also fingered by the public protector for impropriety in his former role as commissioner of Sars.

Malema strategically made the allegations on the eve of the ANC national executive committee meeting, which already was set to be a tense occasion in the context of the issues above.

The ANC is facing serious challenges to its coherence and cohesion.

It is mired in a toxic web of an ongoing contestation between its former president Zuma and his supporters to defend his legacy and the struggle of its current president Ramaphosa and his supporters to assert their authority to drive the party's and the government's agenda.

Malema's assertion about Hanekom is therefore not designed to enlighten, but to cause sensation. It is also aimed at destabilising the ANC and to further undermine the credibility of the new administration.

That is the EFF's modus operandi and political strategy. The red berets have mastered the art of capturing media attention as well as dominating and directing the public discourse.

The ANC has once again fallen for the EFF's calculated effort to hijack its agenda and divert its attention from deliberating solutions to pressing internal and societal problems.

Malema baited the governing party, and ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule, previously vocal in defence and support of Zuma, fell for it hook, line and sinker.

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