Julius Malema, or Juju as he is popularly known, is very well prepared. This year he went to Lagos to consult T.B Joshua, the popular Nigerian prophet, for spiritual guidance.
Prior to his expulsion, he had some prominent backers with deep pockets like billionaire/politician Tokyo Sexwale, as well as the popular Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.
There is no indication that they have deserted him, and then there are a number of ANC mal-contents like the former treasurer Matthew Phosa.
In Marikana he got some overt support from another prominent ANC rebel, General Bantu Holomisa, who was also expelled from the party in the 90s.
He went on to form his own party, the United Democratic Movement (UDM), which has so far made little impact on the political landscape.
He took to the podium to declare that the ANC no longer represented the aspirations of the Black masses. He went on to warn against vote rigging.
Will Juju deliver?
It is early days yet, but it seems he is ready for battle.
Beyond that, he has the survival instinct.
It was so with Jacob Zuma when he faced numerous charges during the Mbeki era. With the State in hot pursuit, self-preservation may become his biggest asset in the political cauldron. Pundits are still unsure of how it will all play out.
Many think the EFF will win some parliamentary seats, and that there will definitely be no revolutionary change to the political landscape.
The ANC is too deeply rooted in the political psyche of Blacks, and the best chance of the EFF chipping away their support is through the youth, whose emotional attachment to the ANC is at best tenuous.
Pundits are also unanimous on the fact that the key to electoral success is the ground game.
That game will depend on organisation and resources.
With no electoral law that obliges political parties to declare the source of their funding, who knows which disaffected billionaire will be secretly stoking the EFF’s embers.
Tokyo Sexwale was summarily dismissed by Jacob Zuma as the Minister of Human Development right in the middle of a strategy session of his ministry this year.
And when it comes to hard work, you can bet on Juju. He goes everywhere.
How does the ANC intend to deal with a growing negative sentiment towards the party, especially around corruption issues and poor service delivery?
Already there are 19 new parties contesting the 2014 elections.
The ANC has dealt with threats in the past through its power of patronage. When an ANC splinter group, COPE, was formed over Thabo Mbeki’s dismissal from office, many of the rebels crawled back to the ANC on the back of cushy jobs and access to tenders.
With an eye on the rural vote, the government has fast forwarded the Traditional Courts Bill to expand the powers of chiefs who hold sway over the rural vote.
An expropriation of lands bill has been put through parliament to address the land question.
Social grants for the poor have been increased, 40 percent of the population depend on it.
Julius Malema has a long road ahead and he needs every inspiration. In his address he evoked spirits of the South African liberation struggle.
He paid tribute to all the great African kings of old, tapping into ancestral pride; from Shaka to Ngunguyani and Makhado.
He cited great African National Congress heroes from Seme Ka Pixley through to Oliver Tambo, Chris Hani and Nelson Mandela. He paid tribute to other anti-apartheid heroes like Robert Sobukwe and Steve Biko.
He saluted all the liberation forces of old.
There is no doubt that Malema means business.
Now that he is on his own and self-employed, will he have the stamina, fortitude and fire power to out gun his adversaries and change the South African paradigm?
As they say, time will tell.
Juju was hitting the headlines every week when he was in the ANC tent.
Now out of the tent, and off a leash, there are very interesting times ahead in the politics of South Africa. And the life and times in this complex country called South Africa will never be the same.
By: Pusch Commey