SLR: MI6, Malema and export of destructive populism

There are some rumours that circulate that are so juicy that you will them to be true. But as journalists, we have to verify and check, and double check to make sure that we don’t fall prey to the era of ‘fake news’ where people will literally believe anything if it confirms some bias they secretly or in many cases openly harbour. Simon Lincoln Reader has come across a super juicy story involving none other than Julius Malema, the leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters who is more demanding than any living toddler insisting that attention is on him all the time, as he did last week with SONA where he and his EFF MPs delayed Ramaphosa’s speech for an hour and a half objecting to the presence of FW de Klerk. And again this week with the budget speech when he made sure all attention was on him. One thing you can say about Malema, he certainly knows how to push one’s button. Well, it seems his shenanigans have not gone unnoticed on the continent and Malema may be pushing the buttons of other African leaders. Simon picks up the story of a complaint to the UK that “his toxic destructive populism could be exported.” – Linda van Tilburg

By Simon Lincoln Reader*

Until officials involved in the following events are prepared to go on the record, a series of intriguing encounters, supposedly involving several African countries and the British government poses the risk of being dismissed as gossip. Our experience of CNN’s bogus “anonymous” or “unnamed White House sources” – or indeed of Iqbal Survé’s militia of demented liars – should have strengthened our judgement of what we hear, or, more to the point, who we hear it from.


But the story goes like this: at some point in 2019, almost certainly after the South African elections in May, representatives from no less than 11 African countries approached the British government to complain about Julius Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), concerned that his toxic, destructive populism could be exported. This makes sense; it is no secret that Malema himself is reviled in most African countries – that Robert Mugabe was the only African leader ever to have endorsed him explains a lot.

The British government, according to a fixer I spoke to on Tuesday in Johannesburg (on condition his name was not published) confirmed that the government had indeed received the complaints then circulated them to its  corresponding parts.


The first organ to issue a response was Mi6, the international intelligence function, who allegedly detailed the worst-case-scenario of Malema being elected President of South Africa and/or the consequences of violent land invasions and confiscations. In its conclusion Mi6 reportedly claimed that there are over 300,000 people living in South Africa who qualify for some sort of settled status in the UK, mostly ancestry. Naturally Britain would be the first country to whom the newly dispossessed would turn.

The EFF threatening to colonise farms. More brilliant cartoon work available at

But according to another official I spoke to on Wednesday from London, again unwilling for his name to be published, the British “might not be as receptive as people assume” – despite prescripts and existing protocols. This curious statement alone makes me believe there’s truth to the story, as it betrays the inner thinking of Britain’s civil service, reflecting fashionable anti-white obsessions beloved by the BBC and other interest groups in recent years.

Intelligence agencies do not game or model economic benefits, but Britain’s institutions are so overstuffed with left-wing zealots that the thought of having to accommodate hundreds of thousands of white people – people prepared to work much harder than their English counterparts – quite probably horrifies them. Hypothetically, the market could have an entirely different interpretation.


For the moment this is where the story suspends. In its current form it could (easily) be rubbished as an orchestrated smear to the reputation of the EFF, but to get there one has to presume the EFF cares.

Ever before Jacob Zuma’s departure, the party has behaved like a wild man tormented by his own secrets. What makes them worse than a garden-variety corruption wave is their association with the forces of intemperate and irrational obsessions that have exploded on campuses in recent years – things which have the power to deceive impressionable minds into believing that the EFF is “progressive”.

We sensible minority in the west are repulsed by these things, despite knowing how they were and are groomed. Too frightened of being canceled to speak out, we have erred with irresponsible supposition: because Africa is majority black, developing, fought brutal wars for independence, because of its mostly complex relationships with the people who consider themselves its former masters, we’ve concluded that the thinking of groups such as the EFF is a natural even prosperous fit for the vacuums, given most of them involve inheritance and identity. But if this compelling story is true, these assumptions are pleasingly shattered.


At the time of going to print, three parties have confirmed the story. One of them claims to have seen extracts of Mi6’s report; the others claim to have spoken to ambassadors familiar with the matter. That no party wishes to see their name published could mean that this story has been fabricated. Or it is true but the consequences of speaking out against the orthodoxy of the EFF, the “Squad” or Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters are just not worth endorsing the truth anymore.

  • Simon Lincoln Reader works and lives in London. You can follow him on Medium.