The Economic Freedom Fighters released their election manifesto over the weekend to a sea of red. But how much of their proposal is truth and how much is so ambitious that it could qualify as wishful thinking? Briefly.co.za investigates.
Julius Malema led the way this weekend as the EFF launched their manifesto for the 2019 elections. Addressing a crowd of avid supporters, the party lay bare their campaign, which, according to deputy Floyd Shivambu, was more detailed and specific than their opposition's equivalents.
Naturally, the promises detailed by the party are designed to be appealing to the public, in the hopes of securing votes in May.
One of the measures the party hopes to introduce was 'compulsory critical thinking classes for all high school students in the country.According to the Daily Maverick, this process should be fast-tracked, as it would only take a small amount of it to see through the glamour to the underlying flaws in the manifesto.
One could go as far as saying that the impracticality of the pledges has reduced the manifesto to a cleverly disguised, but fundamentally dishonest document. And here's why:
Irresponsibly luxurious promises
The 170 page document is bursting with vague pledges, attempting to help voters visualize a healthy, educated and employed South Africa. The EFF even goes as far as mentioning a 10% economic growth with no plausible plan as to how to accomplish it.
Not even Cyril Ramaphosa has gone this far, with the power of the ruling party behind him, he has envisaged a 5% economic growth for this year but even this will take quiet some doing.
Many of the promises made were explained away proposing the introduction of legislation or 'passing a special bill' but in reality the extent of this would be akin to tearing up the Constitution.
Broad, sweeping statements
Other points made in the document did not have any explanation at all attached to them with no plan as to how it would be implemented.
One of these included how the party intends to retain power until the end of days, the manifesto states:
“The EFF will fight African leaders who want to stay in power forever,”
How would the party achieve that? Assuming they won the majority this year, would they go as far as our neighbor Zimbabwe in their attempt to retain their throne?
Who will fit the bill?
Where the manifesto does go into specifics on how they intend to carry out policy proposals, a trend appeared. They would require massive amounts of money to achieve.
When considering this, one should take into account that some of the wealthiest nations globally have not managed to provide these benefits to their people, never mind a South Africa recovering from a technical recession.
Food security in South Africa
One of the promises detailed how the EFF would ensure all food for local consumption is produced in the country. The party intends to make it legally compulsory for traders to buy South African food products.
In 2017, the country had imported over R104 billion worth of agricultural and food products, largely because South Africa in unable to produce enough rice and wheat to feed it's people.
Should the party implement this policy, it would leave the nation struggling to put food on the table.
'One degree, One job'
Another overly ambitious guarantee was the commitment to absorb all unemployed graduates and place them in relevant careers.
At the beginning of this year, 13 million students are currently enrolled in schools across the country. The EFF says it would make it compulsory for all 13 million to “pursue post-secondary education and training at universities, universities of technology and TVET colleges”.
In order to pull this off, the EFF would need to not only find funding for the education of South Africans, but would need to create millions of jobs.
Once again, the plan to implement this policy involved extremely costly measures. A few of these included new state-owned institutions such as a pharmaceutical company.
In conclusion, majority of the EFF's game plan is ambitious but overreaching. This makes the manifesto essentially a fan-fiction of how the party would take South Africa to new heights.
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