Donning the signature red jacket that is characteristic of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), the party’s deputy president, Floyd Shivambu, stepped into the Independent Electoral Commission’s national results centre in Pretoria where he confidently spoke about the EFF’s even spread of support in the local government elections.
“We are in a strategic position as the EFF and the good thing about our growth now is that we are evenly spread. We have illustrated beyond doubt that we are not a regional party,” Shivambu told the Mail & Guardian.
He says that every party since 1994 has been growing in a particular region, but the EFF has grown into a “national economic emancipation movement”, which is precisely what it had wanted.
The party has won voting districts in each province, but has not won any major wards.
But the lack of big metro victories didn’t dampen Shivambu’s mood.
“We know we are a political party of the future. We are going to govern not only municipalities, but the whole country,” he said.
Speaking on the prospect of coalitions, the EFF deputy president said the party’s leadership would have discussions with its structures but, no matter what, the EFF would not become involved in a coalition with the ANC.
“We mobilised our people to reject the ANC and we can’t bring the ANC through a back door,” Shivambu said
“We are saying that when the ANC is below 50% of the vote they must pack their bags and go. They must not even try to have meetings with the regime of the EFF. We are busy, we are not interested,” he continued.
The EFF will be willing to have discussions with opposition parties collectively, Shivambu said, but there would be no isolated talks, especially with the DA.
“We can have a discussion with all the opposition parties, [but] we are not going to have one-on-one discussions with the DA,” he said.
So far, election results have shown declining support for the ANC, despite it’s overall lead nationally with the most votes. The ruling party has fallen behind in Nelson Mandela Bay, the city of Johannesburg and the city of Tshwane. The decline has pleased Shivambu.
“We don’t know if the people who voted for us have voted for the ANC before, but the ANC is declining which is good for democracy in South Africa. The ANC must not dominate alone, because the ANC has been very arrogant with political power and it must be taught a lesson that democracy is not about them, it’s about the people,” he said.
Although political parties have not offficially disclosed how much money they have spent on their election campaigns, rumours have surged about the DA and ANC’s spending. Shivambu, banking on the rumours, said that if the EFF had as much campaign budget as the two parties, they would capture more voters. Time, he said, is also of the essence.
“We need time, give us time. We are going to be the government one day. That is a matter of fact,” Shivambu said.