South Africa’s embattled president Jacob Zuma says he can’t rule out the possibility of EFF members – and it’s firebrand leader Julius Malema returning to the African National Congress (ANC).
Without committing himself, Zuma said the ruling party will not hesitate to open its doors to the fighters whenever they come back to their senses.
The ANC has never discussed whether the EFF can come back to the party or not, Zuma established. However, the president admitted that their return is not something he would want to predict but that the ANC would never say no to anyone.
“The EFF was created because its leader, in particular, and others moved away from the ANC because of certain things, not that they disagreed with policies of the ANC.
“I think the problem that the EFF is faced with, is that many people, particularly the top leadership, come from the ANC. I don’t think if you were in the ANC you are able to create another policy better than that of the ANC. I think that is one of the dilemmas of the EFF.”
The president, who was speaking during an exclusive interview with the ANN7 on Monday evening, told his host that there’s no certainty in politics as anything can happen at any time.
Zuma backed his assertions by saying that he never imagined that Julius Malema “who said his blood was green and gold and that the ANC was in his DNA” would leave the ruling party.
“So particular characters like those can move in directions that you have never expected. So anything is possible. However, the ANC has always been open,” he added.
The president also indirectly took a swipe at the EFF leader for “shouting” always, adding that South Africans are not interested in someone who shouts at someone every day but in someone who is ready to work together to change the country.
In conclusion, Zuma touched on his retirement plans, affirming that he would continue to lead the country even after handing over to a new ANC leader in December. However, he disclosed that he hopes to work with the ANC at the branch level after the much-anticipated elective conference.
The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), formed by former ANC Youth League (ANCYL) President, Julius Malema was officially recognized as a political party in 2013. Malema formed the left-winged party at the site of the Marikana massacre in the North West province, where police shot and killed 34 striking mineworkers.
This was after his expulsion in 2012 following a series of suspensions from the ANC for hate speech and for sowing racial discord in the party.
Another ANC member who helped in the formation of the red block include the then ANC Youth League spokesperson, Floyd Shivambu.
After its emergence on the political landscape four years ago, the EFF instantly became the third-largest political party, focusing its attention in Parliament and provincial legislatures and standing out with its fiery rhetoric and dramatic walk-out antics.