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Will the EFF expose Ramaphosa’s lack of courage?

You’ve got to hand it to the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF); they know how to enlarge their stature working with precious little.

They’ve got many an unemployed person, who can somehow afford South African data, propping them up on Twitter. They’ve got many a news outlet engaged in their planned protest action. They’ve even slyly chosen a day between a weekend and a public holiday… a Monday no less… when nobody bothers anyway.

Then they set the narrative – if there’s violence, it’s not their fault because they warned people to stay closed. If there’s looting, it’s not their fault either. After that, they get their acolytes to make false, yet believable, equivalencies to previous protest action.

And thus the stage is set for the Fighters to do whatever they want, at any expense, and still come off looking like the good guys. They’ve really nailed the insecure kid doing stupid antics for attention on the playground so they get other unpopular kids to befriend them bit.

ALSO READ: ‘Let’s avoid unnecessary conflict’: Mbeki calls on EFF to protest peacefully during national shutdown

In cases like this, one must look at the popular kids too and reflect on what they’ve done to the less popular ones to make them act that way. Were they bullies? Were they better at sports? Did their parents fund the new school astroturf?

The EFF and its supporters have a number of justified and shared concerns about the country. While they’ll have you believe that this alone justifies whatever action they’re condoning, the logic doesn’t quite work out. I mean, you can love Jesus all you like but “Snorting Coke for Christ” wouldn’t be the best Christian manner of worship. You can hate Ramaphosa all you like but forcing a democratically elected president out by protest action isn’t the best form of democracy… not that they’re really that keen on democracy anyway.

And that’s why el presidente’s comment that the only way to get him out is through a vote, is a great stand on his part. It’s just that, like we’ve come to realise, he’s rather good at taking verbal stands but is found to be lacking when he actually has to pick up the phone and do something.

It’s exactly this that the EFF love playing on. It’s why they’ll cause a ruckus in Parliament and get thrown out and then narrate it in such a way that they were victimised even though I have no doubt that a President Malema would have far more security and act in pretty much the same way.

We know there’s a reluctance to call the army on your own people – and we saw this during the riots in KwaZulu-Natal. The EFF knows it too, so even if they act in a manner that requires some ass-kicking on Cupcake’s part, he’d be reluctant to so much as lift a knee.

And yes, I know it’s presumptuous to think that a justified protest will lead to violence but the EFF hasn’t exactly done much now nor historically to curtail such presumptions. The narrative set up is also incredibly bossy. If I don’t elect to take part in your action, it’s my fault that my shop will be looted? That your cause and your method is justified to the extent that everybody should be partaking is not only arrogant but itself, pretty presumptuous. It’s also a story so common that Athol Fugard turned it into a play back in 1989.

ALSO READ: ‘We’re not barbarians, but we’ll be militant,’ says Vavi on Monday’s national shutdown

What the EFF may give us on Monday is the perfect opportunity for the president to show that he cares about law and order or that he cares more about his image. If it turns violent, will he do anything?

What they’re certainly giving us is something far more reflective; what if the protest doesn’t turn violent? Will we all shame ourselves for making the presumptions that it would be? Will we take the EFF more seriously if the national shutdown is well attended and peacefully executed? Will we be willing to take bets on that now?

Surely, Julius Malema isn’t that arrogant that he thinks his side will win a turf war against the ANC. They still have huge numbers so he has little incentive to get violent, but believing you can control a bunch of angry and abused South Africans is arrogant itself.

Monday will be interesting any way it unfolds, but how the president reacts is going to tell us a lot about the man that is supposed to be leading us.

from The Citizen https://www.citizen.co.za/news/opinion/will-eff-expose-ramaphosa-lack-courage/

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