Economic Freedom Fighters

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Economic Freedom Fighters
Spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi
Founder Julius Malema
President Julius Malema
Deputy President Floyd Shivambu
Slogan "Economic Freedom in Our Lifetime"
Founded 17 August 2013 (2013-08-17)
Headquarters Johannesburg
Membership  (2014) 527,343[1]
Ideology Anti-capitalism[2][3]
Left-wing populism[4]
Political position Left-wing[2][3] to Far-left[5][6]
Colours Red[4][2][3]
National Assembly seats
25 / 400
NCOP seats
7 / 90
Politics of South Africa
Political parties

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) is a South African revolutionary socialist[7] political party started by expelled former African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) president Julius Malema, and his allies, in 2013.[8] Malema is President of the EFF, heading the Central Command Team which serves as the central structure of the party.[9]

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 28 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).[10] 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.[11]


A small march by the EFF on Mandela Day (18th July) 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.[12]

It criticises the African National Congress and their primary opposition, the Democratic Alliance, for their allegedly pro-business stances, which have allegedly sold out the people of South Africa to capitalism. 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.[13]

High-profile members[edit]

High profile members of the Central Command Team include Floyd Shivambu and newspaper columnist Andile Mngxitama.[14] 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.[15][16] On 4 November 2013, it was announced that Dali Mpofu had formally left the ANC after 33 years of membership and joined the EFF.[17]

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.[18]

The party was expected to make an impact in the upcoming 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.[13] 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 Assembly
Election year # of
overall votes
 % of
overall vote
# of
overall seats won
2014[19] 1,169,259 6.35
25 / 400
Increase 25
National Council of Provinces
Election year # of
overall seats won
7 / 90
Increase 7

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[19] 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


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.[20]

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa has levelled a number of criticisms at the party including what the union has described as "Julius Malema’s history as a tenderpreneur" and the party's "military command structure".[21] There has also been a feminist critique of the party's militarism,[22] as well as allegations of misogyny from leading members of the party.[23][24][25][26]

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.[27]

It has been argued, by journalist Jane Duncan of the The South African Civil Society Information Service, that the party's documents "reproduce racial stereotypes".[28]


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c d "Economic Freedom Fighters Party reignites debate (in English)". Al Jazeera. 14 October 2013. Retrieved 1 November 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Hundreds gather for EFF launch (in English)". News24. 13 October 2013. Retrieved 1 November 2013. 
  4. ^ 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. 
  5. ^ "Seeing red: Malema stalks ANC from left (in English)". The Scotsman. 9 November 2013. Retrieved 14 November 2013. 
  6. ^ "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. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ Meggan Saville (12 July 2013). "Malema launches his Economic Freedom Fighters". Dispatch Online. Retrieved 16 July 2013. 
  9. ^ Setumo Stone (11 July 2013). "Malema takes command of Economic Freedom Fighters". Business Day. Retrieved 16 July 2013. 
  10. ^ SAPA (28 July 2013). "EFF readies for election registration as over 1 000 members recruited". The Times. Retrieved 28 July 2013. 
  11. ^ Verashni Pillay (5 September 2013). "It's official: Malema's EFF is a political party". Mail & Guardian. Retrieved 5 September 2013. 
  12. ^
  13. ^ a b "Economic Freedom Fighters on rise in South Africa". The Irish Times. 1 May 2014. Retrieved 6 May 2014. 
  14. ^ Economic Freedom Fighters. "Central Command Team". Retrieved 5 August 2013. 
  15. ^ Poloko Tau (21 August 2013). "'Sushi King' quits EFF leadership". Independent Online. Retrieved 24 August 2013. 
  16. ^ SAPA (26 August 2013). "Kunene quits EFF". News24. Retrieved 5 September 2013. 
  17. ^ November 4, 2013 at 10:21am (2013-11-04). "Dali Mpofu joins EFF - Cape Times". Retrieved 2013-11-23. 
  18. ^ "The supporter profiles of SA`s three largest parties". Politicsweb. Retrieved 6 February 2014. 
  19. ^ a b "2014 National and Provincial Elections Results - 2014 National and Provincial Election Results". IEC. Retrieved 11 May 2014. 
  20. ^ Natasha Marrian (29 July 2013). "Mantashe hits out at EFF for 'distorting the Freedom Charter'". Business Day. Retrieved 30 July 2013. 
  21. ^ Numsa wary of ‘capitalist’ Malema, By SHANTI ABOOBAKER, Sunday Independent, 29 December 2013
  22. ^ EFF & the Return of the Warrior Citizen, Siphokazi Magadla, Thought Leader, 2013
  23. ^ Floyd Shivambu: Despicable Me, Sipho Hlongwane, The Daily Maverick, 2012
  24. ^ Remembering Thomas Sankara, the EFF’s muse, Rebecca Davis, The Daily Maverick, 2013
  25. ^ Elections Analysis: The Economic Freedom Fighters, Sonja Bornman, Feminist SA', 2013
  26. ^ EFF: Two senior party officials accused of involvement in 2008 gang rape, Rebecca Davis, The Daily Maverick, 2013
  27. ^ EFF’s KZN man has criminal past, BHEKI MBANJWA, The Daily News, 2014
  28. ^ The EFF and the Question of National Unity, Duncan, Jane, SACSIS WEBSITE, 29 JAN, 2014

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]