EXCLUSIVE: Supporters confident Malema, EFF will conquer the oddsby SAVIOUS KWNIKA
POLOKWANE, (CAJ News) – SUPPORTERS and sympathizers have rallied behind Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader, Julius Malema, who is facing a myriad of charges they believe are politically-motivated.
Malema, the firebrand former member of the ruling African National Congress Youth League, is facing charges ranging from fraud, corruption and racketeering but supporters and critics believe this is a ploy to thwart his and EFF’s rise ahead of the next general election.
The case relates to a 2009 tender awarded by the Limpopo Department of Roads and Transport to On Point Engineering, a company co-owned by Malema.
The trial is being heard in the High Court, sitting in Polokwane, and is set down for six weeks.
Despite the odds seemingly staked against Malema and his party, a majority of South Africans interviewed by CAJ News are adamant the party would fare well in next year’s local government elections.
They believe the EFF would wrestle many municipalities from the ANC, especially in provinces such as Gauteng – the economic hub of the country, Limpopo, North West, Free State and KwaZulu-Natal, President Jacob Zuma’s home province.
Jabulani Sithole of Johannesburg, who runs an informal retail shop in Soweto, believes it is too late to frustrate Malema, arguing the ANC-led administration stood a better chance if it had sought his prosecution soon after it expelled him from the party.
“We all know that the charges Malema is facing today are trumped up, but those that behind the criminal allegations were slow thinkers in that the EFF now boasts capable leadership to cause upsets even when Malema is behind bars,” said Sithole.
He added, “Believe you me, the EFF boasts brilliant thinkers and fearless activists, who now gained the much needed political experience to cause upsets for the ruling party.”
Ntokozo Vilakazi of Mnambithi echoed Sithole’s sentiments.
Vilakazi, a taxi driver, said the ANC miscalculated the push for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to have Malema jailed before 2014.
“The EFF train is no longer stoppable! The likes of Floyd Shivambu, Godrich Gardee, Dali Mpofu and Mbuyiseni Ndlozi now know this political game better that their rivals in both opposition and the ruling ANC. Whether Malema is jailed or not, the EFF is unstoppable!” said Vilakazi.
He projected the EFF would cause some upsets in 2016.
“I might not like them, but they now know the political game better, and most importantly, they know how to charm the electorate,” said Vilakazi.
He said the court case against Malema would make political party even stronger in the 2016 polls.
Abel Kufakunesu, a Zimbabwe businessman based in Polokwane, argued the charges would win more sympathizers for Malema as their timing was suspicious.
“Once the public view this as political persecution, then the ruling party will lose huge support base in the forthcoming elections. Naturally, challenges make people become stronger and resilience,” said Kufakunesu.
“The only strategy for ANC to formulate is to rig the forthcoming elections, otherwise this method of persecuting and witch-hunting of political opponents will always backfire,” Kufakunesu added.
However, some, like Mpho Mmutle of North West, believe the opposition party stands no chance against the seemingly formidable ANC.
“If the ANC selects the right candidates, who might appeal to the electorate, then they will remain unshaken, but I fear the EFF will eat much on their traditional political territories,” she said.
The 2016 local government elections will be the most important since democratic South Africa’s inaugural 1994 poll.
– CAJ News
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