Innocent Batsani-Ncube has published an article, ‘Governing from the opposition?’: tracing the impact of EFF’s ‘niche populist politics’ on ANC policy shifts in the Africa Review Journal.
The article explores how the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), a marginal left-wing populist political party influenced South Africa’s ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC) to adopt two radical policy positions, namely: expropriation of land without compensation and free higher education for 90% of students in tertiary institutions.
Innocent demonstrates that the EFF’s capacity to influence ideas, profile issues, shape discourse and generate alternative legislation were key factors that raised the salience of the two issues. This resulted in the ANC having to respond to the salience in ways that matched the prevailing mood. Innocent clarifies the role of the EFF in this agenda setting.
This study provides new ways of understanding the impact of opposition parties in South Africa. Innocent argues that understanding policy making rationale in South Africa needs more than watching what the mainstream political actors (ANC) do. Given evidence in this study, taking peripheral but radically effective actors such as the EFF seriously broadens our understanding.
The paper is available here.