The Economic Freedom Fighters: South Africa’s turn Towards Populism

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party has made an impact on South
African politics since it was launched in 2013. After the general election
in 2014 the EFF became the third-largest party in the National Assembly
and the official opposition in North West and Limpopo provinces. Some
commentators have raised concerns that the EFF’s success represents a turn
towards a dangerous populism in South African politics. This article seeks
to analyse the EFF as a populist party by arguing that it fits into a global
pattern of populism in electoral politics. It uses the category of ‘political
style’, as developed by Benjamin Moffitt and Simon Tormey (2014), to
discuss the brand of populism espoused by the EFF. The article argues that
the performative elements of the EFF’s politics – its uniform and rhetoric, as
well as its engagement with national and provincial legislatures – have had
the effect of sparking a debate about the relevance of the country’s political
institutions 20 years into democratic rule.

File Type: pdf
Categories: Journal of African Elections
Tags: ANC Youth League, Andile Mngxitama, Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), Jacob Zuma, Julius Malema, September National Imbizo
journal of african elections vol14 number 1 transparent democratic governance in africa