At times during Wednesday’s press conference, Julius Malema did not seem the most levelheaded leader when he announced that his Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) refused to enter into a coalition with anyone, ever.

The Democratic Alliance, he said, squinting impishly into the sun, is “the party of white racists”. The ANC “is a corrupt organisation, which subscribes to kleptocracy”.

His allegations that President Jacob Zuma took a bribe and that Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba spent stolen money could land him on the wrong side of a damages claim, should either choose to act.

But beneath the usual militant rhetoric and bluster lay steely resolve and cold calculation to play the long game – backed up by action that shows more maturity than the ANC showed this week.

The EFF would vote for DA mayors in major cities, Malema said, because it must.