#EFFTurns8: EFF ‘needs to do more’ to be in government
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THE Economic Freedom Fighters turns eight years old on Monday. The party says it has a long way to go to win the hearts of South Africans and attract the older generation so that it can govern, as it hopes to do.
The July 26 movement formed in 2013, also known as the “Red Berets”, spoke to the Daily News on Sunday. National EFF chairperson Veronica Mente said her party continued to penetrate and leave a mark, but felt more needed to be done so that it could one day be in government.
Mente said her party was not ashamed to be at the forefront “demanding what fully belongs to the African people”. She said it was the shared sentiment among Africans that have seen more EFF parties being formed in other parts of the continent.
“We exist in more than 10 countries across the continent. Africa is embracing the EFF because we are inspired by the character drawn from Pan Africanism. We have a complement pillar in our manifesto which talks about the unity of the continent and it is only our party that is leading that conversation.
“Every EFF formation that is born draws inspiration from the EFF South Africa and there are presidents in those countries which have EFF formations but there’s only one commander-in-chief, Julius Malema, since he is the head of all formations.”
Reflecting on the party’s eight years of achievements as well as the challenges it has faced since its formation, Mente said her party had made positive changes in the lives of the poor through various interventions that had not been publicised.
“We have identified victims who could not afford the commodified healthcare in this country.
“In both Limpopo and Mpumalanga, we helped save individuals whose limbs were almost cut because they could not afford healthcare. We raised funds and ensured they got the best treatment,” Mente said.
“We have built houses through salaries and donations from people who have good intentions for our country. We have legally paid lawyers to help people who desperately needed assistance in challenging establishments that exploited them. We have also challenged racist institutions which abused our people.”
Mente said that despite the impact the party had in responding to social issues, resonating with the older generation who had suffered the worst abuse under apartheid remained a challenge.
“The older generation acknowledge the work we do. However, it remains a psychological challenge for them to detach from their now abusive parties which were formed by Struggle heroes who were at the forefront of our struggle fighting for freedom.
“It is hard for them to explore other alternatives because the fear of the past is very much alive inside their heads.
“We are not bothered because we know that the young people who are a majority in the party are joining the EFF in numbers and they are active.”
The party said that due to the Covid-19 pandemic, no gatherings would take place to celebrate its eight years of existence. However, a virtual event was set to take place to reflect on the party’s achievements.