If EFF leader Julius Malema becomes president of South Africa, will there still be freedom of the press?
Or will journalists be pelted with stones, as well as all sorts of insults and abuse?
What happened recently to veteran journalist Karima Brown sent shivers down our spines, and forced us to think about what we can look forward to if the EFF under Malema wins the general election in May.
As a senior editor at television channel eNCA, Brown mistakenly forwarded an “editorial brief” to an EFF WhatsApp group when she was giving directions to her reporters who were covering an EFF function.
“Breakfast with the elderly,” the message read. “Keep an eye out for this. Who are these elders? Are they all male and how are they chosen? Keep watching brief.”
This was ordinary, routine advice given by an editor to journalists who could have been working for any news agency in a democratic society.
The EFF’s response sent shock waves around the country. Instead of respecting the freedom of the media and an editor’s right to advise her staff, Malema and his EFF supporters went ballistic.
Brown was threatened with beatings and rape by Malema’s Twitter followers after Malema posted her private contact details for all to see. It was cyberbullying at its worst.
Intimidating those who do not share our views is unacceptable.
What type of justice will be administered under the EFF with Malema in charge?
If he takes away an editor’s right to guide her colleagues, does it mean we must all sing the EFF’s chorus or risk being declared persona non grata?
It appears we would live by the rule of fear under Malema, not the rule of law. This is worrying indeed.
Is this the same Malema who fought courageously against Jacob Zuma’s corruption in Parliament, demanding that he pay back the taxpayers’ money used to build the former president’s home in Nkandla?
As a country, we celebrated when Zuma was compelled to start paying back the money.
Malema is now fighting against journalists who criticise him and the EFF. These are symptoms of embryonic dictatorship.
On paper, the EFF is fighting for noble goals – the land of our forefathers to be returned to black people, and jobs for youngsters. But how will black people get the land back?
Will the EFF nationalise all the land? Will even more white farmers be murdered in their homes?
Will all the land be owned by the state? Will white farmers be compensated? Will farmland be fairly distributed, with equal opportunity for those who are able to properly farm it?
Or will it only be distributed to those who share the views of the EFF? Unless there is an equitable and trustworthy method for distributing the land, only EFF supporters will be guaranteed a plot.
Further, can we be sure that, in a country where two-thirds of the people now live in towns and cities, there will be food for us to eat?
What is the guarantee that our land will continue to be farmed productively?
Or will this land revolution lead to even worse economic chaos than we saw under Zuma, with starvation in the cities?
We remember what happened after the land expropriations of Malema’s hero, former Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe – a huge mass of economic migrants fled to South Africa.
Where are South Africans supposed to go for refuge and a meal?
Those who voted for the EFF instead of Zuma in the last general elections are beginning to doubt what their party stands for.
Some are just scared of a South Africa under Malema, where people can just erect a tent and a shack next to your house, claiming to take the land back.
This will lead to confrontation between house owners and those building the tents and shacks. This is a recipe for chaos, disorder and outright anarchy.
How can voters be sure there will be law and order under the EFF?
Are we heading into a regime of black fascism, and the end of Nelson Mandela’s vision of a free and united land for all of South Africa’s people?
We are right to worry about the EFF being in power. The party is threatening heavy restrictions on the media, just like the apartheid regime did – the same regime that murdered our heroine journalist Ruth First in Maputo in 1982.
South Africa is now indeed in crisis. Misgovernment by the ANC under Zuma now threatens to bring misgovernment under Malema, who was only nine years old when Mandela was released after 27 years in prison.
To save our democracy, it must be reformed.
Makgoale is a rank and file member of the ANC. These are his personal views
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