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EFF’s National Shutdown Fails to Mobilise Masses and Highlight ANC’s Superior Position



The Shutdown

On Monday, the 27th of September 2021, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) called for a national shutdown. However, the South African Federation of Trade Unions was the only group to support the shutdown. Unlike previous shutdowns, security forces maintained relative order, being on the side of the people who wanted to continue their daily business. Therefore, the EFF’s attempts did not bring the country to a standstill and ultimately, the ANC and the state were portrayed in a better light.

Lack of Support and Risks of Violence

The EFF failed to mobilise masses, and the campaign was deemed ineffective. The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) did not participate in the national shutdown. The inability to garner alliances may be a significant hindrance for EFF’s future campaigns, given the risks of violence and potential mediocre engagement. In addition, despite an economy in the doldrums, record high unemployment, and extensive corruption, the EFF found itself unable to convince the masses to take to the streets.

EFF’s Political Theatre and Tiring of Tactics

While EFF’s political theatre is a way to mobilise the vote, Monday’s shutdown was an overreach in the face of the cameras. It could yet make a big political mistake; however, time on television is an important element in any campaign. The lack of a new, meaningful solution to South Africa’s issues may cause a tiring of the EFF’s theatrical tactics and threats in the minds of the public.

Future Coalitions and Damage to the ANC

The ANC and the EFF may form a coalition to rule the country, which is a possibility that hangs over the next year’s election. The ANC would suffer a diminution of its power, including the dilution of its power of patronage if it enters into a coalition with the EFF. A coalition with the ANC could damage the EFF’s position which it upholds against the ANC on corruption and its failure to pursue “revolutionary” policies. A deal with the DA may be the only alternative if the ANC needs a party that can bring more than 10% of the vote to a coalition and doesn’t want to join the EFF.

The Best Way to Deal with the Threat

The threat of a radical party in the future may always exist. However, it would be best for other parties to isolate the EFF by refusing to enter into a coalition with them.

About the Author

Jonathan Katzenellenbogen is a Johannesburg-based freelance financial journalist. He has covered topics on Politicsweb, DefenceWeb, as well as in some international publications. He has also worked in some leading media houses, including being a newsreader, a reporter on TV and radio, and Business Day.




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