South Africa’s EFF to Protest Against Coalition Government

(Bloomberg) -- South Africa’s leftist Economic Freedom Fighters said it plans to stage protests to highlight its opposition to the nation’s newly formed coalition government.

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President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday unveiled a cabinet that includes representatives from seven political parties, with the centrist Democratic Alliance being allocated six ministerial positions, as well as a similar number of deputy posts. The EFF, which obtained less than 10% of the vote in elections in May, opted not to join the so-called government of national unity because it opposes the DA’s free-market policies.

“We are going to continue conscientizing society, protesting, taking on the streets,” EFF Secretary-General Marshall Dlamini said in an interview with Johannesburg-based broadcaster 702. “The country has just reversed and went back to what we see as the dominance of the markets, the dominance of the racists, they are found in the cabinet.”

EFF President Julius Malema on Sunday labeled the formation of the new cabinet “a betrayal,” as his party criticized the allocation of ministerial roles to the White-led DA. The leader of the DA, John Steenhuisen, has previously touted the party’s record of running the city of Cape Town and the surrounding Western Cape province as evidence of its ability to govern.

The EFF’s populist policies have found resonance among many poor, Black township residents whose living standards remain dismal three decades after the end of apartheid, but it’s been less successful in galvanizing support in rural areas. The EFF’s share of the vote in this year’s election dropped from 10.8% in 2019.

Known for wearing red miners’ overalls and maids uniforms, the EFF has become renowned for disrupting parliamentary sittings and brawling with security officers. Last week, Dlamini was found guilty of assault and handed a suspended prison sentence for hitting a police officer after Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation address in 2019.

The appointment of the new cabinet was cheered by investors on Monday, with the rand leading gains among emerging market peers and stocks continuing their post-election rally.

(Updates with conviction of EFF official for assaulting a police officer in sixth paragraph)

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