South Africa

FIGHT OR FLIGHT?

The political trajectory of EFF Gauteng leader Mandisa Mashego remains uncertain

The political trajectory of EFF Gauteng leader Mandisa Mashego remains uncertain
Although she did not deny a report that she had left the EFF, the party’s Gauteng leader, Mandisa Mashego, she said she was ‘unable to engage on the topic at this moment’. (Photo: Veli Nhlapo)

As far as the Economic Freedom Fighters is concerned, the party leader in Gauteng, Mandisa Mashego, is still a member despite a report that she has left the party. True or not, political analysts believe this may be good for Mashego, but not for the EFF. 

“My observation has been that Mandisa is too independent-minded and sophisticated for a Nazi-like party such as the EFF,” political analyst Prince Mashele told Daily Maverick. “She was therefore bound to lock horns with demagogues like Julius Malema.” 

Mashele’s words come after Sunday World reported on Sunday that Mashego had left the party due to “tension between her and red berets’ leader Julius Malema”. 

Daily Maverick tried for comment from Mashego. Although she did not deny the report, she said she was “unable to engage on the topic at this moment”.

However, TimesLive reported that the EFF had dismissed the claim, saying that nothing had been processed. 

 “We have not received any resignation letter from her. As soon as we get something we will let people know. She remains a member of the EFF,” party spokesperson Vuyani Pambo said. 

Political analyst Ralph Mathekga told Daily Maverick that even though Mashego was popular on both a provincial and national level, there is a fear that the EFF will attempt to tarnish her reputation. 

“Most of the time when people resign from the EFF it’s like they get managed,” Mathekga said. “The EFF has a way of repelling the credibility of anyone that leaves it (the party)… there is a chance for the top leadership of the EFF to attack… and attack your credibility.” 

Mashele believes, however, that this resignation will have a worse effect on the party than on Mashego.

Mashele said that the national and provincial structures of the party will be permeated by fear and suspicion, and “leaders and followers will wonder who is next”.

“The resignation will plant seeds of doubt in the minds of South Africans,” Mashele said. “It will create the impression that the EFF cannot be trusted as a home of sober leaders like Mandisa.”

The motivation behind Mashego reportedly resigning is still unknown, but Sunday World said her decision could be connected to “internal drama” following a tweet sent by Malema on 1 February to former Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba, hinting that party leaders within EFF ranks were disloyal to the party.  

“I’m told one or two of my provincial chairpersons; one from the inland province and one from the coastal province are also speaking to you. Please speed up the process,” tweeted Malema.

There have been some reports of Mashego joining Mashaba’s newly formed political party People’s Dialogue, but the EFF remains adamant that Mashego is still part of the organisation. 

“If this is confirmed,” Mathekga said, “you will see the attacks (against Mashego) start. If she joins another corrupt party — like the ANC — she will squander her own credibility.”

Analysts believe that if she has indeed left she could succeed in another party as “she still has a lot to offer”.

“She has taken a brave and commendable decision, depending on where she goes from here,” Mashele said. 

“People leave political parties because they think those parties are no longer a good platform to pursue what that person believes in,” Mathekga said.

The EFF refused a request for comment from Daily Maverick. DM

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