Carl Niehaus, ARETA Members, Join EFF In Bid To Unseat ANC

African Radical Economic Transformation Alliance (ARETA) President Carl Niehaus has announced his party’s decision to join the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), saying it was the only way to unseat President Cyril Ramaphosa’s governing ANC in next year’s general elections. 

In a new political twist, African Radical Economic Transformation Alliance (ARETA) President Carl Niehaus has announced his party’s decision to join the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), saying it was the only way to unseat President Cyril Ramaphosa’s governing ANC in next year’s general elections. 

During a meeting broadcasted via his #InMyCrosshairs platform on X spaces on Thursday, December 14, Niehaus said a united left is more powerful than sporadic pockets seeking to restore black South Africans’ dignity.

The move is part of a broader attempt to build a solid centre-left movement, led by Julius Malema’s EFF, to try and dislodge the governing party amid growing socio-economic challenges in Africa’s most advanced economy. This includes inequality, unemployment, electricity crisis and poverty. 

Niehaus stated that the formation of ARETA was based on a 10-point plan “to return the land to the people” and unlock South Africa’s economic potential. 

He said it appeared there were political parties, such as the EFF, who were serious about delivering on the promises that ARETA was making to its potential voters. Niehaus and other ARETA leaders, including Secretary General Nkosentsha Shezi, later released pictures of themselves in EFF colours. 

“The National Working Board of ARETA has determined that we must carefully execute this political analysis and be true to our convictions, and join the EFF. ARETA will, therefore, not register to participate in the upcoming elections. We will join the EFF in our capacity as individual members, starting with me as I’m standing here today,” Niehaus said. 

“I know it may be a little bit painful for some of you because we’ve really become attached to this ARETA logo. But for these elections, the ARETA logo and colours will not be on display during the election campaign. Our members are urged to join the EFF and to be integrated into its structures and the EFF election organizational structures and the most effective election campaign under the leadership and the logo of the EFF.”

He appealed to his party’s faithful to “look wherever you are for the EFF branch in your ward and join”. 

“We are doing so as individuals but coming from ARETA. Join the ground forces of the EFF and campaign without any personal expectations except the ushering in of economic freedom for our people.”

During his impassioned speech, Niehaus explained the rationale behind ARETA’s decision. 

“As we engaged in this process for unity, it became evident to us that the basic ideals contained in the 10-point plan are largely compatible with a number of other left progressive political parties, and there is actually much more that unites us than what divides us. It is possible for these left parties to converge on a minimum programme of action platform and to contest the upcoming elections as one united force.

“We asked ourselves, in exasperation, why we should continue to exist as small splinter left parties when there are no ideologically sound reasons for these divisions to persist. The only logical conclusion that we could come to was that the divisions amongst us are not ideological at all, but they are sometimes perpetuated by personal ambitions and power-mongering because people want to be called presidents and because they want to see their faces on posters. It is a commitment to the selfish self, not to sound ideology,” he said.

ARETA President Carl Niehaus and other party leaders after joining EFF. He says a united left is more powerful than sporadic pockets seeking to restore black South Africans’ dignity.

Niehaus reiterated that unity of purpose, not positions and pride, would dislodge the ANC. 

“What is more important? To be called presidents or to ensure the best chance of success to implement the radical economic transformation and thus positively transform the fate of our long-suffering people? That precludes us from participating in any selfishness. We must take the lead, not only in words, but in action. We must walk the talk.

“We need to swallow our pride. We need to get rid of our egos. We must do what is best and in the interest of the suffering masses. After 10 months of various engagements with different left political parties to sell the idea of the unity of the left, as ARETA we came to the conclusion that we are running out of time to achieve the unity of our objectives. A deliberate action is required now to prevent failure,” he said.

Niehaus insisted there was little time for left parties to squabble over votes when there is a great task ahead.

“The time is now for us to lead by example and to take a bold initiative instead of just talking about unity. To us, the only reasonable and logical thing to do is to unite before the upcoming national and provincial elections under one strong and already existing political party in order to present the voters of South Africa with one clear unequivocal choice to vote against the continuation of the sellout disaster that the African National Congress presents, or even worse, a right-wing coalition as presented by the so-called Moon Shot Pact,” Niehaus maintained. 

He added that talking about left electoral pacts after the elections made no sense.

The former Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) national spokesperson said going into the elections divided would result in a long ballot, confusion to the voter and inevitable loss of votes.

Niehaus, however, emphasized that other parties were free to present different models of unity to their constituencies.

“Many votes will be lost to the three horsemen of the apocalypse, namely cynicism, apathy and confusion. Once these votes are lost, they are irretrievably lost and will not be regained by a vague hope of the regrouping of the left alliance after the elections. The only realistic option for the progressive left to unite with the hope to succeed, is to reduce the number of splinter political parties and to unite behind one strong existing left political party that has proven itself to have the political infrastructure and, indeed will be able to do the political organization needed to master the left political vote in South Africa into one united voting block,” Niehaus said. 

EFF Deputy President Floyd Shivambu has welcomed Carl Niehaus and described him as a fearless freedom fighter.  

He added: “ARETA believes that the most sensible and revolutionary thing to do is for all the left parties to unite behind the Economic Freedom Fighters: the EFF, under the capable leadership of the Commander-In-Chief, Comrade Julius Malema, and the capable leadership of his central command team. I am very impressed with how the EFF does things.”

“When I engaged with the Commander-In-Chief and the deputy president Floyd Shivambu, they said to me, ‘We are not going to go for a lot of blitz and glitz. We want this announcement that you are making to have integrity. We are not Fikile Mbalula.’”

EFF Deputy President Floyd Shivambu described Niehaus as a fearless freedom fighter.  

“Fighter @niehaus_carl is a fearless Freedom Fighter who even on the face of death and intimidation by the apartheid racist Courts, stood firm on principle and correctly characterized apartheid as a crime against humanity. It’s therefore logical for fearless Freedom Fighters to join a fearless, militant and radical economic emancipation movement, the EFF,” he said on X.  



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