The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), the political concoction of authoritarian leftist Julius Sello Malema, has once again shown why they are not fit to be in power, and the time to boycott them is now long overdue.
Over the weekend of 5 to 7 January 2018, the retail outlet H&M (Hennes & Mauritz) published an advert on their website in which a black boy was modelling a green sweatshirt with the phrase “coolest monkey in the jungle” emblazoned on it.
Outrage followed over the advert that was perceived as insensitive and immediately labelled as racist. Canadian singer The Weeknd tweeted that he was deeply offended and will not work on collaborations with H&M in the future as he had done in the past.
— The Weeknd (@theweeknd) January 8, 2018
“This image has now been removed from all H&M channels and we apologize to anyone this may have offended”, said H&M spokeswoman Anna Eriksson.
Of course, outrage in South Africa was also at the order of the day. The EFF decided that H&M’s act of racism cannot go unpunished and decided that criminal acts were the best form of retaliation. News24 reports that EFF protesters looted an H&M branch in the East Rand Mall on the 13th of January, which forced the South African Police Service to fire rubber bullets at the thugs in order to disperse them.
According to CNN Money, H&M have temporarily closed their 17 stores in South Africa.
[UPDATE] Video of damage inside the H&M at Sandton City, EFF members are protesting there. Video from eNCA's Masechaba Mogane pic.twitter.com/bZb9RjJCEU
— eNCA (@eNCA) January 13, 2018
As usual, rather than condemning his supporters’ sheer disregard for private property rights, Julius Malema proceeded to rather defend his thugs against the people condemning their actions with the following tweet:
We will never be told by any fool on how to fight against our oppression particularly those who have never been at the picket lines. There’s no formula on how you should fight the oppressor, expect more action against all racists, individually and collectively this year. #Siyeza
— Julius Sello Malema (@Julius_S_Malema) January 13, 2018
EFF Member of Parliament Floyd Shivambu was, however, a little more direct in his defence of the vandalists and looters than his Communist-in-Chief Malema, and expressly congratulated his red ants on their despicable acts of theft and vandalism:
That @hm nonsense of a clothing store is now facing consequences for its racism. All rational people should agree that the store should not be allowed to continue operating in South Africa. Well done to Fighters who physically confronted racism. pic.twitter.com/cgdedYGoOj
— Floyd Shivambu (@FloydShivambu) January 13, 2018
Political commentator and self-proclaimed echo chamber for apparently all black people in South Africa, Pieter Howes, decided to rather chastise the white folk who condemned the looting, instead of the looters themselves:
White folks, stop policing the way in which black folks express anger at racism. It's not our place to question something we couldn't possibly understand as we aren't victims of racism. And stay out of intra-community discussions about it. Yesterday I erred, learn from my mistake
— Pieter Howes (@PieterHowes) January 13, 2018
Luckily, there were some rational people who made some very sensible points, one of them being entertainment commentator Phil Mphela:
Where were the EFF protesters when Shoprite workers were on strike demanding better pay? Why did they not protest outside Shoprite stores & show solidarity with those workers. Yeah the H&M ad is a problem but c'mon, the Shoprite situation had a more direct impact on SA lives.
— Phil Mphela (@PhilMphela) January 13, 2018
Mphela was joined in his moment of revolutionary logic by South African actress Pearl Thusi:
So instead of fighting at their level you’re just going to vandalize stores and establishments? Spread violence and fear? Oh, ok.
Just misrepresent us all as savages then. https://t.co/ocRq309Cqx
— Pearl Thusi (@PearlThusi) January 13, 2018
The question that now begs to be asked is whether the EFF have done enough so as to be boycotted. Let’s look at their past.
In 2016, amid violent protests on the campus of the University of Pretoria, EFF Pretoria Youth Leader Omphile Seleke shared a post that was originally posted on the political party’s Facebook page, which described how to make petrol bombs. Instead of taking down the post themselves, the EFF left it to Facebook users to report it and for Facebook to subsequently remove it.
In the same calendar year, Commander-in-Chief Malema told his supporters outside the Newcastle Magistrate’s Court that they (the EFF) are not calling for the slaughter of white people, at least for now. This comment by comrade Malema was made in the same spirit as his controversial “kill the Boer, they are rapists” chants in 2010 at the University of Johannesburg.
IOL reported in 2014 that the EFF’s premier candidate for KwaZulu-Natal, Vusi Khoza, was convicted in 2012 of public violence and conspiracy to commit assault and was handed a three-year suspended sentence. Khoza’s conviction arose from his involvement in a xenophobic attack against foreigners in Albert Park in December 2009.
Granted, the EFF have done admirable things such as successful court actions against the ANC and their members, specifically the successful case relating to President Jacob Zuma’s irregular expenditure of R256 million on his private homestead in Nkandla, of which Zuma had to pay back a portion. But in all honesty, what good is it for a political party to only support the Rule of Law when it suits them?
The EFF are a militant party who have absolutely zero respect for the rights of others except when it suits their narrative. The latest H&M saga is what I hope to be the final nail in their coffin. The time has come for us to shove their coffin into the grave that they have dug for themselves.