EFF leader Julius Malema addresses the masses outside Brooklyn Police station after laying criminal charges against Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan and his daughter Anisha (Gordhan). Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)

As 2018 draws to a close, global politics is becoming more and more fiery, toxic and hypocritical.

In America, those who wanted Hillary Clinton jailed for having used her personal email account for government business, are now strangely quiet after it was discovered Ivanka Trump did the same thing.

Personally, I don’t care one way or the other.

What bothers me is that there isn’t nearly as much noise about this, as there was about Clinton.

Instead, we have explanations, justifications and excuses.

And I’m willing to bet that dozens of local Trump supporters will send me emails today, arguing why there is nothing suspicious about Ivanka’s actions.

Meanwhile, here at home, Julius Malema continues to learn his combative politics from Trump, double-speaking, contradicting, deflecting and hypocriting every time he has a gullible audience willing to cheer his nonsenses.

He is now steering his EFF’s attention away from Jacob Zuma and towards Pravin Gordhan, the state capture commission and its chief evidence leader, Advocate Paul Pretorius.

Last week, Malema did a classic Trump, by calling Pretorius a “bastard” for not being more robust in his questioning of Gordhan.

What they of course fail to understand is that is exactly how the commission has been set up to operate - less inquisition and more inquiring.

Malema extended his name-calling to Gordhan - a man he openly and loudly admired just a few months ago saying “(Gordhan) is a unifying figure... He gives that sense of hope in a situation of hopelessness. He is the only person (in cabinet) with some sense of respect from everyone”.

But last week he called the minister a “racist and corrupt dog” and accused his daughter of enriching herself through government tenders.

The real motivation behind Malema’s attacks were really just to deflect our attention from his and the EFF’s own alleged guilt, which was revealed in a report from the Daily Maverick the following day.

And that was Malema’s cue to take aim at journalists, naming several of them and encouraging EFF supporters to deal “decisively” with what he calls the “Ramaphosa Defence Force”.

Pravin Gordhan. Photo: Nhlanhla Philips/African News Agency/ANA

If there has ever been any doubt that Malema is an unhinged populist, then last week should confirm it.

Now that Zuma is gone, the EFF is looking for a new adversary and they are doing it a very dangerous way.

By appealing to the economic dissatisfaction and militancy of their supporters, they are placing lives in danger in a country that is still susceptible to pre-election violence.

Like Trump, Malema doesn’t truly care about the consequences of his words or his actions.

It doesn’t matter to him that he is stirring up unreasonable (and misplaced) emotions amongst his supporters.

I suspect what he is really playing at is for us to forget the scandal involving his Ratanang Family Trust, which allegedly earned millions in tenders to build roads and bridges that ended up being defective.

And now there’s the possibility he and others in the EFF benefited from the VBS Bank looting.

I fear he wants to stir as much suspicion as he can against the Gordhans of the world, so that government has no choice but to approach him with a deal, if it wants to avoid violence.

Malema is setting himself up to be a true election king-maker.

And in so doing, he is proving he is interested only  in economic freedom for himself.

And freedom from prosecution!