South Africa: Julius vs The ANC

South Africa’s political rebel Julius Malema gains support across the nation as he challenges the ruling ANC party.

Editor’s note: This film first aired in April 2017 when Jacob Zuma was still president of South Africa. Zuma retired from the presidency in Feburary 2018.   

Julius Malema is one of the most controversial political figures in South Africa today. Malema was a rising star in the ruling African National Congress party (ANC) until 2012 when he was expelled after a bitter fallout with President Jacob Zuma.

Many commentators thought he would disappear into oblivion after his expulsion but in 2013, he founded his own political party, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF). To his many thousands of supporters, Malema’s aggressive focus on the rights of poor black South Africans makes him a future leader of South Africa. To many others, his bombastic rhetoric is offensive.

After 22 years in power, the ruling ANC’s claim to represent the interests of the black majority is under question as the voice of Malema and his EFF party appears to resonate with growing dissent across the country.

Filmmaker, Rehad Desai (watch his Emmy Award-winning film Miners Shot Down here) takes us on a personal journey through this clash over the past five years.

A Big Issue seller stands in front of a building reading
A Big Issue seller stands in front of a building reading “Zuma must fall” during anti-Zuma protests in early 2016. The protests followed a constitutional court ruling that Zuma failed to uphold the constitution when he ignored a state order to repay government funds used in an $14m upgrade to his home [Rehad Desai]