Economic Freedom Fighters

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Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF)
Chairperson Dali Mpofu
Secretary-General Godrich Gardee
Spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi
President & Commander in Chief Julius Malema
Deputy President Floyd Shivambu
Founder Julius Malema
Founded 26 July 2013 (2013-07-26)
Headquarters Johannesburg
Student wing Economic Freedom Fighters Students' Command (EFFSC)
Membership (2014) 527,343[1]
Ideology Marxism–Leninism[2][3]
Left-wing populism[6]
Political position Far-left[7][8]
Colours Red[4][5][6]
Slogan "People’s Power for Economic Freedom in Our Lifetime"
National Assembly
25 / 400
National Council of Provinces
7 / 90

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) is a South African revolutionary socialist[9] political party started by expelled former African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) President Julius Malema, and his allies, in 2013.[10] Malema is President of the EFF, heading the Central Command Team which serves as the central structure of the party.[11]

It is currently the third-largest party in both houses of the South African parliament, receiving 1,169,259 votes and a 6.35% share of the vote in the 2014 general election. By December 2014, the EFF claimed to have over half a million members, although this has not been independently verified.


At a 26 July 2013 press briefing in Soweto, Malema announced that the new party had over 1000 members, double the 500 required for registration with the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).[12] The EFF is now registered with the IEC, after an objection to its registration by the Freedom Front Plus (FF+) was dismissed in September 2013.[13]

Splinters and infighting[edit]

In 2015, the EFF suspended MP Lucky Twala and expelled three MPs, Mpho Ramakatsa, Andile Mngxitama and Khanyisile Litchfield-Tshabalala.[14] Mngxitama formed his own party, named Black First Land First (BLF), while Litchfield-Tshabalala joined the United Democratic Movement.


A small march by the EFF on Mandela Day (18 July) 2014 near the parliament building in Cape Town protesting in support of land reform in South Africa.

The EFF "draws inspiration from the broad Marxist–Leninist tradition and Fanonian schools of thought in their analyses of the state, imperialism, culture and class contradictions in every society", according to one of its declarations.[15]

It criticises the African National Congress and their primary opposition, the Democratic Alliance, for their allegedly pro-business stances, which it claims have sold out the black people of South Africa to capitalism as cheap labour. It promises to tackle corruption, provide quality social housing, and provide free primary healthcare and education for all, as well as proposing to expropriate "stolen land", nationalise the mining and banking sectors, double welfare grants and the minimum wage, and end the proposed toll system for highways.[16]

The EFF takes significant inspiration from Sankara in terms of both style and ideology.[17] In a May 2014 column, the prominent EFF member Jackie Shandu declared his party a "proudly Sankarist formation".[18]

The EFF has been vocal in its criticism of black business owners and black owners of mining companies in South Africa. In an address at the Oxford Union in November 2015, Malema spoke out against billionaire mining company owner Patrice Motsepe.[19][20] Further protests in 2015, the EFF delivered demands that included the socialization of the mining sector and called for more explicit targets for the 26% BEE ownership required by law.[21]

Malema addressed a crowd in Marikana, Rustenburg in the platinum mining area, blaming mining companies and calling out platinum mining company Lonmin in particular, for poverty in the region.[22]

In 2016, after local elections in South Africa, the EFF has suggested that they will back the Democratic Alliance in hung-metro areas, but would not be entering into a coalition with any political party in South Africa.[23]

High-profile members[edit]

High profile members of the Central Command Team include Floyd Shivambu, Fana Mokoena and Mbuyiseni Ndlozi (National Spokesperson).[24] Controversial businessman Kenny Kunene joined the Central Command Team in July 2013 before resigning from the Central Command Team on 20 August 2013 and from the organisation on 26 August 2013.[25][26] On 4 November 2013, it was announced that Dali Mpofu had left the African National Congress (ANC) after 33 years of membership and joined the EFF.[27]

Support base[edit]

According to a dated November 2013 Ipsos survey, the party's supporters are younger than average, with 49% being younger than 24, overwhelmingly black (99%) and mostly male, with women representing only 33% of the support base. A disproportionate number of supporters live in Malema's home province of Limpopo (28%), while only 1% live in KwaZulu-Natal, a more populous province.[28]

The party was expected to make an impact in the 2014 general election, taking between 4 per cent and 8 per cent of the national vote. This was potentially enough for the party to hold the balance of power in provinces where the governing African National Congress was in danger of losing its absolute majority.[16] In fact, the ANC retained its absolute majority, but the EFF moved into third place, surging past the shrinking Inkatha Freedom Party, with a 6.35% share of the vote to the IFP's 2.40%.

Election results[edit]

National elections[edit]

National Assembly[edit]

Election Total votes Share of vote Seats +/– Government
2014[29] 1,169,259 6.35
25 / 400
Increase 25 in opposition

National Council of Provinces[edit]

Election Total # of
seats won
7 / 90
Increase 7

Municipal elections[edit]

Election Votes  %
2016[30] 3,202,679 8.31%

Provincial elections[edit]

Election Eastern Cape Free State Gauteng Kwazulu-Natal Limpopo Mpumalanga North-West Northern Cape Western Cape
 % Seats  % Seats  % Seats  % Seats  % Seats  % Seats  % Seats  % Seats  % Seats
2014[29] 3.48% 2/63 8.15% 2/30 10.30% 8/73 1.85% 2/80 10.74% 6/49 6.26% 2/30 13.21% 5/33 4.96% 2/30 2.11% 1/42


On 6 August 2015 the EFF announced that it has secured a Constitutional court case for its Jacob Zuma campaign of #PayBackTheMoney. The case was heard on the 9 February 2016. The Judgement was released by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng. The judgement stated that The President has violated the constitution of the country together with the parliament speaker Baleka Mbete. The President was given 60 days to fulfil the requirements of the Public Protector Thuli Madonsela.[31]


The ANC has accused the Zimbabwean ruling party, the Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU–PF), of supporting the EFF so as to destabilise the ANC.[32]


Feminists and the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa have criticised the party's militarism and "military command structure".[33][34]

In mid-June 2016 a group calling themselves "Anonymous Africa", claiming to be associated with the hacktivist group Anonymous, perpetrated a DDoS attack on the EFF's website stating the reason for the attack was the party's “nationalist socialist rhetoric".[35]

Violence and bigotry[edit]

Vusi Khoza, the party's candidate for Premier of KwaZulu-Natal, has a criminal conviction for his involvement in what was believed to be a xenophobic attack on foreigners at Albert Park, Durban in December 2009.[36]

Feminists have characterised leading members of the party as misogynist.[37][38][39][40]

The EFF is widely criticised for inciting and perpetuating racism.[41][35][42] South Africa's Independent Electoral Commission disqualified an EFF councillor in the 2016 local elections due to racism.[43]

In February, 2016, during violent university protests characterised by arson and vandalism, EFF Youth leader Omphile Seleke posted instructions for making petrol bombs on social media.[44]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Matuma Letsoalo. "EFF targets 1-million membership". The M&G Online. 
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b c "Economic Freedom Fighters Party reignites debate (in English)". Al Jazeera. 14 October 2013. Retrieved 1 November 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c "Hundreds gather for EFF launch (in English)". News24. 13 October 2013. Retrieved 1 November 2013. 
  6. ^ a b "Red Tide: From 'economic freedom' to 'white genocide', extremism grabs the spotlight (in English)". Daily Maverick. 14 October 2013. Retrieved 1 November 2013. 
  7. ^ "Seeing red: Malema stalks ANC from left (in English)". The Scotsman. 9 November 2013. Retrieved 14 November 2013. 
  8. ^ "In divided S. Africa, anger at new road tolls proves a powerful unifying force (in English)". Alaska Dispatch. 5 December 2013. Retrieved 5 December 2013. 
  9. ^ EFF. "Economic Freedom Fighters Peoples Declaration of the First National People’s Assembly,". 
  10. ^ Meggan Saville (12 July 2013). "Malema launches his Economic Freedom Fighters". Dispatch Online. Retrieved 16 July 2013. 
  11. ^ Setumo Stone (11 July 2013). "Malema takes command of Economic Freedom Fighters". Business Day. Retrieved 16 July 2013. 
  12. ^ SAPA (28 July 2013). "EFF readies for election registration as over 1 000 members recruited". The Times. Retrieved 28 July 2013. 
  13. ^ Verashni Pillay (5 September 2013). "It's official: Malema's EFF is a political party". Mail & Guardian. Retrieved 5 September 2013. 
  14. ^ Genevieve Quintal (2015-06-05). "Litchfield-Tshabalala UDM's new national organiser". 
  15. ^ "Declaration". 
  16. ^ a b "Economic Freedom Fighters on rise in South Africa". The Irish Times. 1 May 2014. Retrieved 6 May 2014. 
  17. ^ Duval Smith, Alex (30 April 2014). "'Africa's Che Guevara': Thomas Sankara's legacy". British Broadcasting Corporation. London. Retrieved 5 November 2014. 
  18. ^ Shandu, Jackie (22 May 2014). "The Sankarist makings of the EFF". Daily Maverick. Johannesburg. Retrieved 5 November 2014. 
  19. ^ "Business Day". Retrieved 2016-11-27. 
  20. ^ Jordaan, Buchule Raba And Nomahlubi. "Patrice Motsepe has no power‚ says Malema". Times LIVE. Retrieved 2016-11-27. 
  21. ^ John, Victoria. "Yes and no to EFF’s list of demands". The M&G Online. Retrieved 2016-11-27. 
  22. ^ Tatai, Sello. "SABC News - Malema blames mining companies for high levels of poverty:Thursday 7 July 2016". Retrieved 2016-11-27. 
  23. ^ Feltham, Luke. "Malema says the EFF won't form coalitions, but will support DA in hung metros". The M&G Online. Retrieved 2016-11-27. 
  24. ^ Economic Freedom Fighters. "Central Command Team". Archived from the original on 12 August 2013. Retrieved 5 August 2013. 
  25. ^ Poloko Tau (21 August 2013). "'Sushi King' quits EFF leadership". Independent Online. Retrieved 24 August 2013. 
  26. ^ SAPA (26 August 2013). "Kunene quits EFF". News24. Retrieved 5 September 2013. 
  27. ^ "Dali Mpofu joins EFF - Cape Times". 2013-11-04. Retrieved 2013-11-23. 
  28. ^ "The supporter profiles of SA`s three largest parties". Politicsweb. Retrieved 6 February 2014. 
  29. ^ a b "2014 National and Provincial Elections Results - 2014 National and Provincial Election Results". IEC. Retrieved 11 May 2014. 
  30. ^ "Results Summary - All Ballots" (PDF). Retrieved 11 August 2016. 
  31. ^ Emsie Ferreira (6 August 2015). "Lets meet in court, Malema tells Zuma". Retrieved 26 January 2016. 
  32. ^ Natasha Marrian (29 July 2013). "Mantashe hits out at EFF for 'distorting the Freedom Charter'". Business Day. Retrieved 30 July 2013. 
  33. ^ Numsa wary of ‘capitalist’ Malema, By SHANTI ABOOBAKER, Sunday Independent, 29 December 2013
  34. ^ EFF & the Return of the Warrior Citizen, Siphokazi Magadla, Thought Leader, 2013
  35. ^ a b "EXCLUSIVE: Why Anonymous 'hacked' the SABC, Gupta websites". Fin24. Retrieved 2016-06-19. 
  36. ^ EFF’s KZN man has criminal past, BHEKI MBANJWA, The Daily News, 2014
  37. ^ Floyd Shivambu: Despicable Me, Sipho Hlongwane, The Daily Maverick, 2012
  38. ^ Remembering Thomas Sankara, the EFF’s muse, Rebecca Davis, The Daily Maverick, 2013
  39. ^ Elections Analysis: The Economic Freedom Fighters, Sonja Bornman, Feminist SA, 2013
  40. ^ EFF: Two senior party officials accused of involvement in 2008 gang rape, Rebecca Davis, The Daily Maverick, 2013
  41. ^ The EFF and the Question of National Unity, Duncan, Jane, SACSIS WEBSITE, 29 JAN, 2014
  42. ^ Sain, Raahil (2016-03-08). "‘EFF must #PayBackTheMoney for damage to varsities’". Retrieved 2017-04-14. 
  43. ^ "IEC disqualifies EFF councillor for racist tweet". eNCA. 2016-08-29. Retrieved 2017-04-14. 
  44. ^ de Lange, Ilse (2016-02-29). "EFF’s ‘petrol bomb recipe’ fuels Tuks fears". The Citizen. Retrieved 2017-04-14. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]