The EFF pillars are built to crumble​
Nicholas Woode-Smith, an author, economic historian, and political analyst, is a contributing author for the Free Market Foundation. 

Since 2013, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) under wannabe despot Julius Malema has had seven so-called non-negotiable pillars. At their core, these pillars are stereotypical, rote policies of an ill-thought national socialist state. In practice, they will be disastrous for this country.

We just need to take a brief look at the history of these policies in practice to see that they did not work elsewhere, and they will definitely not work in South Africa.

Pillar One: Expropriation of South Africa's land without compensation (EWC) for equal redistribution

Look no further than Zimbabwe as an example of EWC plunging a country into squalor. Without strong property rights, people cease investment, stop development, and let land fall into ruin. Government-owned land, as it would be under the EFF, is notorious for being underutilised, overgrown and wasted.

In Zimbabwe, often violent expropriation resulted in the collapse of the country’s agricultural sector, an emigration crisis, mass starvation and malnutrition. Zimbabwe went from one of the largest food producers on the continent to a backwater dictatorship and a byword for poverty.

Pillar Two: Nationalisation of Mines, banks, and other strategic sectors of the economy, without compensation

The SA government can’t run Home Affairs, much less something as complex as mining or banking. Yet, the EFF wants to control the commanding heights of the economy, as their Leninist origins require.

But nationalisation has never worked. Especially on mass. The Soviet Union nationalised the entire economy, before backing down to just major, key sectors. These sectors became bogged down in government corruption, bureaucracy, politicking and incompetence.

In Communist China, officials would lie about their production numbers to receive promotions, often leading to entire regions starving as central planners took these numbers at face value and distributed resources accordingly.

What nationalisation doesn’t destroy in these sectors, will be looted promptly by the EFF and its cronies.

Pillar Three: Building State and government capacity, which will lead to abolishment of Tenders

The problem with tenders is government corruption. Relying on a larger, more powerful state to replace tenders will just ensure direct looting. Tenders are needed to allow specialisation. The government cannot and should not fulfil every role in society. Tenders allow outsourcing of certain jobs to specialised companies that have their own infrastructure, training, staff, and experience.

Without tenders, government would need to procure all of its needs through itself. That means training up its own cleaning staff, developers, construction companies, and even producing its own equipment and supplies. State-owned toilet paper manufacturing does not sound like a reasonable use of taxpayer’s money, or government time.

The government exists to govern. To do so effectively, they need to delegate tasks. The tendering process is meant to be a transparent way to delegate these tasks. The problem isn’t tenders themselves. It’s that the government is corrupt and uses tenders to enrich itself. In fact, privatisation and minimising the government’s role in the tender process would lead to much less corruption than expanding the state.

Pillar Four: Free quality education, healthcare, houses, and sanitation

Nothing is free. Somebody always pays. And coupled with the EFF’s wealth eroding policies, there will be even fewer taxpayers to pay for these grand promises.

Free tertiary education has proven to make higher education even more exclusive, elitist, and out of reach of the people who need it most.

In Brazil and England, notably, free college policies resulted in a major cap on student admissions, and harsh competition in order to qualify. The only students who could qualify ended up being high-income students whose families could afford private tutors and educational resources.

South Africa also already has subsidised healthcare, which is free for those who can’t afford it. The problem is that the quality of public healthcare is dismal due to corruption, apathy and incompetence.

Free housing is also already a failure in this country. The entire process has been bogged down with corruption, with free housing developments costing far more than they should, taking far too long to build, and often enriching cadres more than helping the deserving.

And at the end of the day, what entitles someone to a free house? No one inherently deserves a house. This myth that every South African should receive a free house must end. It is a fairy tale that has irreparably rotted the soul of this country.

Pillar Five: Massive protected industrial development to create millions of sustainable jobs including Introduction of minimum wages in order to close the wage gap between the rich and the poor.

There’s already a minimum wage in South Africa. It has resulted in pushing millions of people out of the job market, further widening the gap between rich and poor. Raising it further would just lead to inflation and more unemployment.

Protecting industries would be disastrous. Protecting local industry from foreign competition only serves to ensure that it remains unprofitable, unsustainable, and incapable of ever standing by itself.

Industries need to be competitive to do well and serve their employees and customers. They can’t be competitive if they are being protected by state subsidies, tariffs and trade barriers.

Brazil embraced a policy of protectionism, and it bankrupted the state. The United States’ forays into protectionism have resulted in massive trade deficits and the suffering of American consumers. Even so-called success stories of protectionism, like Japan, succeeded in spite of protectionism, with protected industries often collapsing due to inefficiency.

If an industry can’t handle foreign competition, then it wasn’t meant to be. This policy won’t create any sustainable jobs. Just suffering.

Pillar Six: Massive development of the African economy and advocating for a move from reconciliation to justice in the entire continent.

At first glance, this pillar is a bunch of hollow rhetoric. But the second part is potentially terrifying. Reconciliation is how we move on. It’s how we progress and let the suffering of the past stay in the past. Yes, we need justice. But justice must be done to punish perpetrators. It must not be done on descendants, or ideological enemies.

The EFF is incredibly racist, singing genocidal songs, and calling for violence against ethnic groups (white and Indian people, notably). They continue to sing “Kill the Boer” and called for violence against Indian people in the 2021 pogroms.

Their form of justice will not resemble anything ethical or just. But rather, a descent into temporarily cathartic violence, theft, and decay.

Pillar Seven: Open, accountable, corrupt-free government and society without fear of victimisation by State agencies.

This is a laughable pillar when we consider all the previous policies. There can be no corruption-free government that controls so much. Access to state resources enables corruption and encourages it. The more resources the state has access to, the more it will plunder.

The EFF has already proceeded to loot wherever it governs, with its candidates and cronies lining their pockets with pension and tax money.

And with the blatant ideology of Marxist-Leninism and downright national socialism that the EFF purports, almost everyone will become a victim of the state. Of all the pillars, this may be the only good one, yet is the most blatant lie of all.

The EFF will Destroy South Africa

The EFF must never be allowed to govern this country. The slow rot of ANC governance has been agonising. But at least it is recoverable. Their lack of coordination and ideological unity has allowed much of the country to remain intact. If the EFF becomes the ruling party, and is allowed to implement its policies and ideology, there will be no going back.

If the EFF is elected, we will join the likes of Venezuela, Zimbabwe, Soviet Russia, and Khmer Rouge led Cambodia. And, perhaps, surpass them in atrocities and squalor.