In apparent imitation of and a challenge to the “youthful” Economic Freedom Fighters, the governing ANC has bragged about having included a large number of youth, mainly from the ANC Youth League and student bodies, on its national and provincial candidates lists for the upcoming election.
The young candidates include former Wits University’s #FeesMustFall campaign leader Nompendulo Mkhatshwa and a horde of present and former ANC Youth League leaders – the youngest of whom is only 20 years old. Former ANC Youth League deputy president Ronald Lamola tops all other youth league members on the party parliamentary candidates lists.
The move by the ANC is seen as a direct challenge to the Economic Freedom Fighters, led by Julius Malema. The EFF was the first political party in South Africa to be led entirely by young people and its presence in parliament has changed the country’s political landscape.
Since the EFF arrived in parliament in 2014, it introduced rigorous and robust debate in the House and its members openly challenged former ANC president Jacob Zuma, calling for him to pay back the money that was used to build non-security details at his Nkandla homestead. The party stage dramatic walk-outs in protest and often physically clashed with parliamentary security during the sittings.
Political analyst Susan Booysen said the ANC was realising the need for a generational mix when choosing parliamentarians.