Brains under the red beret

This article is opinion based 

For those of you who follow South African politics you would know that much like fighting movies – such as Fight Club and Never Back Down - South Africa has two main contenders for the belt (and now recently three). The African National Congress (ANC), which has been prominent in the South African political landscape for many years, and just recently in the past couple of years has become corrupt, arrogant and led by men who think this country is their personal fiefdom. Then there is the Democratic Alliance (DA) – which is a fairly new party that was introduced after apartheid had been abolished in the late 1990’s.

They are considered to be the ‘white party’ by opposition and so have gained that exact reputation among South Africans. Then we come to the brand new party that has been stirring up a storm – Julius Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters(EFF). It was started last year after he got kicked out of the ANC Youth League for supposed acts of fraud and corruption.

The ANC in this instance are the cocky fighters, they already posses the belt, the DA are the underdogs (many are hoping they will win the elections eventually - however that I believe is debatable), and the EFF – well they are everything surrounding, in some cases the referee, in others the screaming crowd, and possibly even the girlfriend that seems to be on the side of the arrogant standing winner but ends up with the underdog – they just cause the chaos.

Seeing as in their first elections the EFF gained enough votes to secure a few seats in parliament, we have seen Julius Malema and his beret wearing minions stir up havoc in parliamentary sessions. In one of the first parliament sessions, Malema had quite an entertaining and utterly irrelevant remark, by arguing that the deputy Chair Person - Cyril Ramaphosa - did not deserve to be called ‘honourable chair’.

Just the other day him and his colleagues were dressed in overalls and domestic workers clothes and were chanting in parliament as if it were a protest; now this bothered me because of two reasons.

Firstly; I couldn't for the life of me understand why they had to dress the way they did - after some research it was pointed out that they dress the way they do because they represent the working party, fair enough.

Secondly; I was shocked at how they could behave the way they were behaving - in parliament of all places. I sat and questioned the motives of Malema; why was he acting like a 3-year-old, wearing clothes that made him look like prison inmates and making a complete tomfoolery of our political structure? It came to me - he was doing all this for the very reason I am typing this article, publicity.

I never even knew we could watch parliament on TV before Malema, and he has made sure I know it now. He wants people to see the ANC. He wants people to know that he thinks the ANC must be torn apart and to an extent I agree with him. Just as the girlfriend in fight movies turns from the champion (like in Never Back Down) so too is Malema. Maybe its his way of getting back at the ANC for kicking him out of the youth league, maybe he wants to be famous, all I know it is - I like what he is doing. He may seem like a tyranny and an under educated pain in all of our behinds but think about how many votes he got in one year, think about how he has occupied your brain with thoughts of him and how he is targeting the ANC for everything bad they have done. The EFF might not seem like it, but they are necessary.

You see, over 10 odd years the ANC has been run by people who make more mistakes than triumphs. How the ANC works is that if you know someone in government, you are bound to be driving a Range Rover very soon. Majority members of the ANC are known for being corrupt (Malema just wasn’t careful enough and got caught) which is why they can afford to drive luxury Range Rovers and have big houses. Our President – Jacob Zuma - recently built a house for a whopping R206Million ($26Million), which is rather funny seeing as he only earns R2.2Million a year. Where, oh where did he get the other odd R200Million? Tax payers money - that’s where.

When he was asked by a reporter about the scandal he applied his iconic jackal laugh saying that only the “clever blacks” are concerned over his home in Nkandla – the majority of the population are simply not fazed. How arrogant can you get? He obviously thinks of himself as Kim Jong-un and believes that being head of state means you get paid a lot to do nothing. Under Zuma, a whole bunch of the police system has also become corrupt and quite chaotic.

Nowadays if you don’t have a license and wish to drive a car you have two options: carry an odd R200; or simply go speak to a guy standing outside home affairs to organise you a real fake. Simple. Now I know that not every ANC member or every policeman is corrupt, but as the old saying goes, “one rotten apple spoils the bunch”.

Anyway – back to the EFF and why they are necessary. Some people may see them as anarchists and a joke but let’s be real. Zuma and the ANC have not been challenged like this for years, it’s time that they are shown that this country is not eating out of the palm of their hands – not everything they are doing is okay.

I also find it very ironic how the ANC can accuse the EFF of not following parliamentary procedure and etiquette when the ANC (or President Zuma) has had no regard for the institution, I think President Zuma often forgets that he agreed to "obey, observe, uphold and maintain the Constitution” . Malema may be causing havoc, but let me add, that havoc is necessary – as some call it, controlled chaos. Malema has made the state look weak and I believe that he is showing their true colours - he might not be any better but then again he isn't running the country.

The DA – well I’m beginning to think they should be the people who are just there, considering their recent complacency in truly challenging the party in power.I know, however the EFF won’t (or at least I hope they don’t) gain power, even though I value their role in South African politics - but leave that for another day. Parliament nowadays is a fight club, it’s chaotic, it’s full of politicians who have been smacked on the head too much and sure some issues do get resolved here and there.

For now it’s fun to watch and eat your face from the inside out trying to contain your laughter as they fight it out, I’m sure we can all agree that it sure is no ordinary parliament.I hope you take away that the EFF might look like they are good for nothing, but they aren't in power, they are antagonizing the people who made etolls happen, corruption common and spent your hard-earned money on their Range Rovers and swimming pools - in a way that the DA never did. It's a new and exciting time for politics.

Oh I forgot, first rule of fight club: never talk about fight club.

By Alistair Haddow (17)