Julius Malema, leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), has warned citizens of biased reporting ahead of election day on 8 May.
With little over a month to go before South Africans head to
the polls, political parties are fervent in their approach to woo over voters.
Door-to-door campaigns and grandiose stadium appearances, intended as both a
show of power and opportunity to sway prospective voters, are intensifying in
the lead up to the nation’s sixth democratic election.
Julius Malema and the media
According to Malema, however, the media has purposefully ignored
the EFF’s campaign. On Monday, the EFF released an official statement in which
it accused journalists and publications of ‘misinforming society’. This, due to
the self-perceived meagre press coverage allotted to the party’s recent rallies
held in Gauteng, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, the Northern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.
The storm has been brewing for quite some time now and, at this rate, shows no signs of abating. Earlier this month, Malema lashed out at
The Stratcom story
EFF Statement On Successful Rallies In Gauteng, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Northern Cape And KwaZulu Natal pic.twitter.com/pBm8sFGDWd
— Economic Freedom Fighters (@EFFSouthAfrica) March 25, 2019
It’s apparent that Malema is fixated on the idea of a ‘captured’ media monopoly within South Africa; labelling journalists as ‘agents of Stratcom’ – a shady apartheid era organisation tasked with manufacturing defamation campaigns. As part of its latest statement, which opened with self-congratulatory verbosity, the EFF warned:
“Fighters must know that Stratcom continues to wage war against us. They refuse to cover our events in an effort to hide the successes of growth of EFF, so as to create an impression that we are small in numbers.
They continue to lie, misrepresent, and misinform society about who we are.”
The EFF’s Commander in Chief issued a statement within his own capacity on Tuesday, building on the sentiment expressed within the party’s statement, this time, with an added twist. According to Malema, ‘the establishment’ is waging an intense information war against the EFF which, in addition to a media blackout, will, ironically, include the publishing of ‘old stories’. Malema took to Twitter to announce:
“Be warned fighters; the establishment has issued instructions to the #stratcom to rehash old stories for the next 3 weeks against the EFF leadership because they can’t find anything new.”
South African elections 2019
Be warned fighters; the establishment has issued instructions to the #stratcom to rehash old stories for the next 3 weeks against the @EFFSouthAfrica leadership because they can’t find anything new. #VoteEFF #OurLandAndJobsNow
— Julius Sello Malema (@Julius_S_Malema) March 26, 2019
Malema previously landed in hot water for issuing a veiled threat with regards to the outcome of the upcoming elections. Due to his unsubstantiated criticism of the media – his attack on Karima Brown, in particular – the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) received numerous calls for the party to be barred from the upcoming elections. In response, Malema said:
“They want to remove us from the ballot paper because they can see that we are going to attain the land.
Two things are going to happen. Death or Economic Freedom.”
The EFF is looking to improve on its last electoral showing, which, in 2014, earned the party 6.35% of the national vote, putting it third on the political ladder in its inaugural year. According to recent voter surveys, conducted by Ipsos and the Institute for Race Relations, the EFF is expected to see a notable upswell in support come May 8.