Julius Malema is just as opportunistic and thick skinned as Jacob Zuma. If it wasn't for Zuma's inept and selfish mismanagement of South Africa, Malema and the EFF would never have been able to claim such a considerable chunk of the South African political space. His and his party's so called 'street cred' is a direct result of the bumbling, corrupt ways of Zuma's ANC that give Malema the perfect stage to revile the ruling party and its leader - something that a preschooler can do with ease.
Malema's latest call for all students with university exemption to demand a spot at their tertiary institution of choice, is a case in point. His exploitation of the hopefully soon-to-be-former No 1's desperately opportunistic announcement of free higher education for all, shows that the red baron feels absolutely nothing for the wellbeing of our economy or education system - i.e. zilch for the poor.
Last Monday the EFF leader said the fact that the infrastructure of the country's universities does not allow for the intake of extra students "is none of our business". He told a Limpopo radio host that if universities cannot accommodate the poor, then no one must attend university.
One would surely expect greater depth of thought and a higher degree of insight from someone who received a BA Honours degree in Philosophy from Unisa as recently as 2016.
But maybe the answer lies exactly herein: as one of the 'privileged' who could afford to pay his own way at university, Malema has already obtained his degree and has nothing to lose, unlike the thousands of students, mostly from poor and middle class homes, who stand to lose everything should the higher education system grind to a halt - regardless of whether they are paying or nonpaying students.
Zuma's hopefully imminent exit may bring an unexpected bonus. Without Zuma to provide Malema with a treasure chest of verbal ammunition I doubt whether the EFF will continue its hold on those easily swayed by populist speeches. Zuma's departure and the ANC getting its house in order will be a death knell for the EFF. And with ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa already adopting the 'radical economic transformation' rhetoric and embracing 'expropriation without compensation' he is starting to invade the EFF's turf - pun intended - something that Malema must find deeply annoying.
And short of Zuma declaring a state of emergency to retain his presidential seat, all indications are that his days will soon be numbered.
But it's not just Malema who faces sleepless nights. The DA should also beware. With Patricia De Lille finding herself out in the cold, the Independent Democrats may soon be awakened from its uneasy slumber. Then the ANC pulling up its socks will be the least of Mmusi Maimane's problems.