- In 2011 Julius Malema walked away from the African National Congress after Jacob Zuma suspended him as leader of the youth league
- No one thought they'd hear from the outspoken and fiery politician again. But today his political party, the Economic Freedom Fighters, is celebrating their 5th year
- The EFF was expected to last no more than a few months, and now they are the 3rd largest political party in South Africa
The red berets, as they are often called, celebrates its 5th year today.
We take a look at how the Economical Freedom Fighters went from being the underdogs to one of the dominating political forces of South Africa.
2013, the year the EFF officially announced themselves
The EFF officially announced its formation on 27 July 2013 in Soweto. Julius Malema and Floyd Shivambu, formerly the spokesperson for the ANC Youth League, were the founders of the EFF.
The EFF described itself as a radical movement for economic freedom and today many South Africans support this idea and the party.
Despite people having little faith in the EFF, it grew stronger every year
In the 2014 general elections, the EFF had more than a million votes, giving them more than 6% of South Africa's support. This was no small feat, given the fact that the party was still very young.
After the 2016 municipal elections, the red berets had more than 8% support and received 25 seats in the National Assembly.
Since 2014, the EFF's support has grown even more and it is expected to have many more votes in the 2019 elections.
The EFF has had its share of scandals over the 5 years of its existence
Many EFF members got the party into hot water with racial comments.
In 2016, the EFF Pretoria youth leader, Omphile Seleke, made news headlines in 2016 when he shared information on making a petrol bomb on social media.
Luvuyo Menziwa also caused waves with his alleged hate speech and racist comment.
Malema has caused his own share of scandal for his party with his comments that are considered racist.
Briefly.co.za reported on how Malema caused an outcry when he said Indians are racist.
The EFF is often criticised by members of their opposition, the Democratic Alliance and the African National Congress
Jacob Zuma threw shade at the EFF in 2011:
Some say they are fighting for economic freedom. Who is oppressing them economically? Who do they want economic freedom from?
It is only the ANC that brought South Africa freedom. When it was time to fight, it was us who died for freedom. We were arrested and went to Robben Island and we are the only party that will change our people’s situation in South Africa.
More recently, the DA's leader Mmusi Maimane accused the EFF of using race as a reason to put in a motion of no confidence against Athol Trollip, mayor of Nelson Mandela Bay. The motion was later withdrawn.
Regardless of the negative attention the EFF is often getting from the media, loyal followers of the party feel they are just what South Africa needs.