Opinion: The DA and the EFF: A blind date, a shotgun marriage and then divorce By Steven Boykey Sidley
Honeymoons are often more fraught than the participants would like.
Particularly if the newlyweds are near strangers. Passion, certainly,
but also loud chewing and neglected underwear on the floor. Long
courtships are generally a good insurance against the spectre of nasty
spats and worse.
The EFF and the DA, with nary a blind date behind
them, have had a shotgun marriage followed by some explosively good sex
over the last few days. Orgasms and batted eyelids and cuddles galore
and optimism about the future.
‘Thank you very much for what you have
done for this country,’ said Herman Mashaba to Floyd Shivambu and
colleagues, moist-eyed. It should be hilarious, or at best, tinged with
satire and irony. But this is politics. What you say yesterday may have
little bearing on what you say today. And during a honeymoon, one should
best try to be affectionate, even if second thoughts prickle.
how soon will this charade be over? Well, I took myself to a nifty
little website from the non-profit Education & Training Unit that explains exactly what a municipality does.
up who knows what a municipality does (at least a metro municipality,
of interest to this discussion). Me neither. Let’s take a look.
it is - electricity delivery, household water, sewage, storm water,
refuse removal, fire fighting, health services, land usage, municipal
roads, municipal transport, street trading, abattoirs and fresh food
markets, parks, libraries, local tourism. Guided by budget allocations,
and greased by rates, taxes, fines and borrowings.
And then there is the EFF municipal manifesto.
short, the EFF manifesto says that all the metro services you will ever
need will be provided by municipality-owned companies staffed by you,
our local citizens, trained and paid by us, the municipality. Including
theatres (!), recording studios (!), road construction, clinics and the
rest. And those services we can’t provide will be 50% provided by local
companies and metro residents. Everyone else can bugger off.
A few samples (quoted verbatim from their manifesto document, capital letters included):
EFF's People Municipality WILL ABOLISH ALL FORMS OF INFORMAL
SETTLEMENTS AND DWELLINGS, AND PROVIDE ADEQUATE HUMAN SETTLEMENTS FOR
‘The EFF's People Municipality will ensure that THERE IS
NEVER A POTHOLE THAT'S LASTS FOR MORE THAN 48 HOURS in any of the roads
under the Municipality.’
‘The EFF will EMPLOY AND SUSTAIN ALL
MEMBERS OF THE COMMUNITY SAFETY WORKERS AND ENSURE THAT THEY HAVE
ADEQUATE CAPACITY TO STOP ALL FORMS OF CRIME IN THE MUNICIPALITY’
Did anyone in the EFF with any understanding of the way the wider world works even read this document? Did anybody ask how?
and then there is ’A Revolutionary Councillor is an organiser who knows
how to move crowds towards mass revolutionary action.’ Not a purveyor
of service delivery, but rather a mover of the masses to ‘revolutionary
action’, presumably in the red hues and forced perspectives of a 1920s
This manifesto is so ill-conceived, so devoid of
the most basic economic understanding, so lacking in basic
cost/expense calculation and so uninformed by tragic global history
(Stalin’s Russia comes to mind), as to be a case study in the worst of
So why do we keep hearing about how savvy Malema
has become? How he has started to make sense? How he is a positive
force for change?
He is not. He is a brilliant salesman and
explosive orator. But make no mistake. He is a peddler of snake oil. Has
anyone from the media asked this simple question - how are you going to
pay for this? And can I see the financial forecasts? That is probably
because no one has ever opened a spreadsheet to run the numbers.
Commentators have no problem skewering the likes of Zuma and Zille. It
beggars belief that so few have not ripped more forcefully into Malema
And this is who the DA has been forced to marry by the mandates of democracy and power.
DA, for all their historical missteps and fumbling and the coddling of
some of history’s losers have the following notches on their collective
belt - they run reasonably clean cities. They pass financial audits.
They jockey spreadsheets. They hire technocrats who do their job. They
know what it costs to provide basic services. They know what is
achievable and what is empty promise and what is political bluster.
marriage has no chance. Irreconcilable differences. Infidelity beckons.
And then we are into the uncharted territory of hung councils in our
richest metros and a sidelined ANC buoyed at the prospect of voters
returning to the fold.