EFF must resist ANC overtures

EFF must resist ANC overtures.
EFF must resist ANC overtures.

Having Julius Malema rejoining the ruling party and the EFF closing shop would be good for the ANC but bad for South Africa.

It is really no surprise that the ANC would want the former president of its youth league back as he has been a thorn in the party's side since he set up his own party in 2013. That the ANC is no longer running the Johannesburg, Tshwane and Nelson Mandela Bay metros is, in no small part, thanks to the EFF and its commander-in-chief.

Faced with what some pundits predict would be the ANC's toughest general election yet next year, it is logical that President Cyril Ramaphosa and his deputy David Mabuza would try to safeguard the party from losing its majority in the National Assembly by wooing Malema and legions of his supporters.

The irony of it all is that it was Ramaphosa who put an end to Malema's career as an ANC politician when, in his capacity then as the head of the ANC's disciplinary appeals body, he ruled that Malema be expelled.

But, as they say, there are no permanent enemies in politics and - were the two to actually join hands - they would probably try to convince the rest of us that it was all Jacob Zuma's doing.

But judging by Malema and the EFF's reaction to the Ramaphosa-Mabuza call, the Red Berets are not interested in folding into the governing party.

And that is a good thing. Because if there is one lesson we would have learned from the experience of the past few years, it is that a strong and credible opposition is a fundamental necessity for good governance and a vibrant democracy.

An ANC that is too powerful and that has no threat of losing power hanging over its head, recent history shows, becomes too arrogant to listen to citizens. Within its structures, it cracks down on those voices that do not toe the leadership line.

Those who claim that bringing the two parties together would "give a united voice to black people" on issues like land and social transformation, are mistaken. The transformation of South Africa into a nonracial democracy has been slow precisely because those in power had become too big to hear and appreciate the growing discontent with the status quo.