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  • President of South Africa's radical left-wing party, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), Julius Malema gestures during the launch of the party's election manifesto in Soshanguve.

    President of South Africa's radical left-wing party, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), Julius Malema gestures during the launch of the party's election manifesto in Soshanguve. | Photo: Reuters

Published 2 February 2019

The political party intends to challenge the African National Congress (ANC), which EFF supporters say is corrupt, in this year's elections .

Thousands of South Africa's radical leftist Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) supporters gathered at the Giant Stadium, Soshanguve, Saturday to hear leader Julius Malema announce the party's promises ahead of the 2019 elections.

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Party supporters gathered to hear the party's manifesto launch saying that the party is the only organization that gives them hope to remove what they call a "corrupt African National Congress (ANC)" from power.

EFF announced in their manifesto that the party would nationalize all mines by 2023 if elected this year. The party is using an anti-corruption, jobs creation and state control of the economy platform to challenge the governing African National Congress (ANC) in the election expected in May.

"The EFF government will nationalize all mines and mineral wealth in South Africa by the year 2023. It will allocate key shares in South Africa's mineral and petroleum resources to the Sovereign Wealth Fund," the party said in the manifesto, adding that a state mining company would be established.

After a week of mobilizing communities around Tshwane, EFF leader Julius Malema and others in the party presented plans for South Africa under their leadership if elected in an attempt to convince voters to back the red berets in this year’s provincial & national elections.

Since its formation in 2013, EFF, which draws much of its support from the rural poor, has called for the nationalization of banks, mines, and other strategic sectors of the economy as well as expropriation of land without compensation. 

Parliament has opened the way to alter the constitution to allow land to be expropriated without compensation. However, a final decision is not expected until after the election.

"We cannot postpone the land question, we cannot postpone the jobs question, it must happen now," EFF leader Julius Malema told supporters at the manifesto launch in Pretoria, many of whom were dressed in red and carrying placards.

Land is a hot-button issue in South Africa where racial inequality remains entrenched more than two decades after the end of apartheid when millions among the Black majority were dispossessed of their land by a white minority.

The red berets, like the ANC,  launched its manifesto last month after holding listening tours with different sectors of society in the build-up to deciding what should go into the document.

A 73-year-old EFF supporter at the stadium said that Malema and his party give him hope, Eyewitness News (EWN) reported. "The pan-Africanist background had run out of tires and suddenly the EFF appeared. It revived what I'd always valued," he told EWN.

The party, since its emergence just months ahead of the 2014 national elections, has locked in on its role in the country’s political landscape, having taken on numerous battles in parliament and the courts and is thereby shaping public discourse.

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