Are The Economic Freedom Fighters Communists?

By Christiaan van Huyssteen (@cvh23)



Let’s find out by comparing official EFF policies with section 2 of the communist manifesto:


  1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.

Official EFF policy: “EFF’s approach to land expropriation without occupation[sic] is that all land should be transferred to the ownership and custodianship of the state”


  1. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.

There doesn’t appear to be any official EFF documentation on tax policy, which is peculiar. They have big plans for spending (providing ‘free’ healthcare and education etc.), but they don’t say how they’ll raise the money to do so.


  1. Abolition of all right of inheritance.

No policy with regards to inheritance. Not that the filthy capitalists will have much to give to their children, since most of the wealth will have been taken through force, and given to the people.

It’s probably safe to assume that Malema and co. won’t have a favourable view on inheritances.


  1. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.

Official EFF policy: “The EFF will limit foreign ownership of strategic and monopoly sectors”

Every popular political movement needs an enemy within, and an enemy without. Foreigners are the enemy without. It’s easy to blame faceless, nameless foreigners for your woes. Your rhetoric and anger need a target. And what’s a better target than the defenseless ‘foreign imperialist’ boogeymen?


  1. Centralisation of credit in the hands of the State, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.

Official EFF policy: “The EFF-led government will establish a State Bank, which should be accompanied by the transformation of the financial sector as a whole”

It is unclear how a state bank will differ from the privately owned central bank/reserve bank system South Africa, and the world, is using now. Whether the new central bank is used to further state and/or corporate agendas through their day-to-day activities of market manipulation (bail-outs, money printing, devaluations, artificial interest rates) makes little difference. I am already skeptical of qualified economists in ivory towers (central banks) making economic decisions that affect billions, so I can’t think of anyone in EFF circles who I would trust with the monetary printing press.


  1. Centralisation of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State.

Official EFF policy: “The transfer of wealth from the minority should fundamentally focus on the commanding heights of the economy. This should include minerals, metals, banks, energy production, and telecommunications and retain the ownership of central transport and logistics modes such as Transnet, Sasol, Mittal Steel, Eskom, Telkom and all harbours and airports.”

This matches pretty closely. Why the state should have anything to do with communication or transport eludes me. In fact, this gives them great power to impose on our civil liberties by having monopoly power over key industries. Also, I can’t see how some politician or bureaucrat will be able to make cell phone services cheaper or better than the services we pay for now.


  1. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State; the bringing into cultivation of waste-lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.

Official EFF policy: “Within the context of a state-led industrial policy, the state should protect infant industries, particularly in areas where the country does not enjoy competitive advantages.”

How protecting or subsidising industries in South Africa that aren’t competitive is going to help our economy is unclear. We do not compete with China on mass-producing things like clothes or electronics, because we can’t. For the most part we can’t produce better quality products at better prices than they can in China (the reasons for this might be that we have too much government interference in business and labour markets already). Why try to keep industries alive to compete in markets where we can’t be competitive and profitable? It is better to focus resources and people on industries in which we have a fighting chance, like agriculture or mining. The free market is very good at allocating capital, and not wasting time on unprofitable and pointless ventures. How the unemployment crisis will be helped by the state throwing good resources after bad is unclear.


  1. Equal liability of all to labour. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.

Official EFF policy: “In line with the Freedom Charter and a new vision of agrarian revolution, the state should also provide implements and related extension services to help those who work the land to use it productively. Furthermore, the state’s procurement of food should prioritise small-scale farmers so that small-scale farming becomes a sustainable economic activity for the majority of our people.”

Chairman Mao (Chinese communist dictator 1949-1976) asserted in 1957 that the communist Chinese economy would surpass the UK in size within 15 years. Under the ‘Great Leap Forward’ policy, private property was abolished in 1958, and collective agricultural co-operatives were introduced. A famine ensued from 1959 to 1961, resulting in the deaths of 40 million people. The tragedy of the commons. 


  1. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country, by a more equitable distribution of the population over the country.

Official EFF policy: “Rural development should not be confined to maintaining the rurality of rural areas. It should, instead, aim to abolish rural and town distinctions. To this end, the department of land reform and rural development should be called the department of rural industrialisation and urbanisation and work closely with other government departments to uplift the economies of rural areas.”

Will the state build farms in cities, or cities in rural areas? Or will they forcibly move people to where some bureaucrat think they belong?


 10.  Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children’s factory labour in its present form and combination of education with industrial production.

Official EFF policy: “Education will be free up to undergraduate level and all pupils and students will be provided with adequate learning and teacher-support materials.”

How they will make education (or anything) free is unclear. Maybe they will magically suspend the laws of economics and arithmetic (let’s not underestimate the power of the EFF).




The EFF policy documents are based on the communist manifesto. Going through these documents, I was unable to find anything that was practical, made economic sense, or was morally justifiable. Virtually none of these policies can be executed without using violence or coercion


EFF policy can be fairly described as communist.


“If only communism in all its glory had been tried in the past to see if it could work.”


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