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Election Aftermath

EFF enters parliament ready to shake things up…again

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema during a media conference at the party’s Braamfontein headquarters on January 23, 2019 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Gallo Images / Sowetan / Alaister Russell)

President Julius Malema started the party’s first press conference after the 2019 elections that saw EFF’s growth, by welcoming the outcome by the IEC and thanking over 1.8 million South Africans who identified with the fight for ‘economic freedom’.

It is through the people who voted for the Economic Freedom Fighters that the party is now the official opposition in three provinces, said Julius Malema during the party’s first media briefing at its headquarters post the election.

Malema used the platform to thank the hard-working “ground forces” who, some without food and party regalia, went out to do door-to-door campaigning. He went on to say that history will restore them with the honour of being true revolutionaries.

Malema berated the “white media” who are “out of touch” with the “masses of our people”. If the elections had gone according to the media, President Cyril Ramaphosa would have won with an overwhelming 80%, said Malema.

He went to say that the IEC needs to “build strong internal capacity” with regards to “voter verification” so that the voters’ roll cannot be abused. Furthermore, Malema, while still reading from the press statement said there should be an independent auditor appointed to analyse the extent of double voting as reported during the elections.

The IEC needs to modernise it’s systems so that it can be ready for the 2021 local government elections and to avoid an “unworkable political environment”, said Malema.

The party president then turned to address reports they received of EFF representatives who were not working during the elections season. According to Malema, members complained that EFF ward councillors “absconded” their duties by not doing the groundwork like everyone else.

Malema said the party is entering parliament with determination, although the Treasurer General, Leigh-Ann Mathys and National Chairperson, Dali Mpofu, will not be joining them. Mathys is due to medical reasons and Mpofu due to his legal responsibilities as an advocate.

As the EFF goes into the sixth parliament, Malema says it will continue to demand “insourcing” for all workers, for Ramaphosa to reduce the cabinet – if he does not that will be a “declaration of war”, to call for free higher education, the professionalisation of early childhood development, 24-hour clinics across the country, free housing, free wheelchairs for the elderly and disabled, and a declaration of a three-month clean up of townships.

These are goals Malema says the party will prioritise in the municipalities it already has seats in.

A further goal of the EFF in parliament, said Malema, is to “uproot” the “anti-black racism” in the financial sector, because black workers are the most vulnerable in the workplace. He then closed off the statement by reiterating the party’s call for African Unity.

Malema was asked by journalists to explain the party’s growth in the ANC stronghold of KwaZulu-Natal from 1.9% in 2014 to 14.2% and in Mpumalanga Provincial legislature, where it is now official opposition with 6.4%.

According to Malema a “solid team” consisting of Deputy President Floyd Shivambu, and EFF MPs Veronica Mente and Reneiloe Mashabela were “deployed” into the province where the provincial structure was disbanded and restructured.

Malema says the party did the same thing in the Eastern Cape, where Mpofu had been in charge but did not see an increase in membership because of his demanding legal responsibilities. Legal work, Malema stressed, that benefited the party although costing groundwork.

The party did a similar thing in KZN and Gauteng, says Malema, when Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, EFF spokesperson was sent there.

All the structures that were dissolved and deployed, we experienced growth [in],” said Malema.

When asked by Daily Maverick how the party plans to retain MPs when 15 of their 25 from the fifth parliament were replaced, and with 19 more seats, Malema replied that the party does not tolerate low performance and it replaces members as it wishes.

According to Malema, the party invests in organisation growth because there is a “general laziness and incapacity to think outside of the box” in the party. And that for the EFF “to see significant growth” it needs to identify areas where there are challenges and confront it.

Malema stressed that “the EFF must not be like the ANC” who support “friendships at the expense of the organisation”. He says in the EFF there are consequences for low performance.

The party will not apologise for replacing party representatives who are not performing,” said Malema.

Malema went on to state that the reason the party does not remove Democratic Alliance mayor Herman Mashaba as mayor of the City of Johannesburg as their alliance partner, is only because of how much the ANC hates the mayor.

Anyone who traumatises the ANC is my hero,” said Malema.

Malema then said the party’s campaign message was that when a mall is built anywhere in the country, spaza shops must have shares in the venture because of the loss of business in the local community.

Malema was asked by a French journalist if the party intends to be a part of the solution in resolving tensions in townships now that they are part of the big three political parties.

According to the Commander-in-Chief, he has not seen any tension in communities. It is a figment of the journalist’s imagination, he said.

Malema went on to say that if there is any kind of tension which the journalist has noticed it is a result of the inequality experienced by millions of South Africans in the country that will only be solved by sharing the wealth.

Malema then welcomed the French journalist to walk through the streets of Johannesburg and “our people”, if there is tension, will say the only thing that is aggrieving them is “whiteness”.

Malema added that it is the “objective of the EFF to collapse white supremacy”. Malema went on to say that if that is what is fueling tension then he’s happy to be doing so.

Malema then turned to reiterate his earlier stance that Ramaphosa will be removed as the president of the country by a faction in the ANC.

According to Malema, the ANC has reduced in votes from 62% in 2014 to 57% in 2019, something which he says will be used against him in the upcoming National General Council meeting of the ANC planned for June.

The faction he is fighting is well-oiled and ready for him,” said Malema.

Malema went on to predict that if Bathabile Dlamini, Minister of Women in the Presidency, is included in the cabinet, as the ANC Women’s League has called for, it will show he has no power in the party.

The man is in a crisis,” said Malema. DM


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