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Julius Malema laments EFF’s failure to elect women leaders in Eastern Cape

Julius Malema laments EFF’s failure to elect women leaders in Eastern Cape
EFF Leader Julius Malema. (Photo: Gallo Images / Volksblad / Mlungisi Louw)

The EFF has a new leadership in the Eastern Cape, with Zilindile Vena heading an all-male top five. But the party’s Commander in Chief took delegates to task, saying the vote was ‘a disrespect from all of you to the women of Eastern Cape’.

EFF leader Julius Malema scolded hundreds of delegates at the party’s third Eastern Cape Provincial People’s Assembly in East London on Sunday, 6 November, for failing to elect a single woman into the top five leadership structure.

The failure to elect women into the top positions was a trend in the party that Malema called an injustice to the liberation of women, whom it often advocates for.

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The Free State had been the only province to elect a woman as chair, but Mandisa Makesini has since been removed, Malema said. Although Limpopo is yet to have its conference, Malema was concerned by the possibility of all the provinces being led by male chairpersons.

“You have failed to fulfil your mission, and that mission is a mission that makes sure that in everything else we do, we put women at the centre of whatever we are doing,” he said.

The top five

Zilindile Vena was elected as Eastern Cape chairperson, Mlamli Makhetha as deputy chairperson, Simthembile Madikizela as secretary, Zolile Mgqwayiza as deputy secretary and Thembinkosi Apleni as treasurer.

“I am not proud of this top five, because I will never be proud of anything that doesn’t have women in it,” Malema said. “It’s a failure to all of you. It’s a disrespect from all of you to the women of Eastern Cape, to the women of South Africa.”

Malema questioned female delegates’ rationale behind voting male delegates into the top positions:

“What kind of leaders, what kind of delegates are we, what type of women are you who come together in a conference … where there are more than 50% of women and do not elect a single woman… Who are the people in society who have more problems than others? It’s women. Are you saying these men are going to solve the problems of women without women? You must never follow factionalism — you must follow the principles, constitution and the ideas of the EFF. 

“The EFF teaches you that, fundamentally, we need women in our struggle… We will never be free for as long as women are not free. Every day we march. We don’t want women abused, we don’t want [gender-based violence]… Given an opportunity ourselves to demonstrate to society how committed we are in this course for the liberation of women, we don’t grab that opportunity [with] both hands.”

Malema said the possibility that the EFF could be led by men across all nine provinces signalled that the party did not “believe in humanity”. “I am not here to fight anyone’s battle; I don’t care who won or lost. I care which gender was excluded in the leadership of the EFF and that is why I represent. All I am part of is defending the image of the EFF,” he said.

He urged the delegates to vote differently when they elected additional members of the provincial structures: “Fighters, you still have an opportunity because you are nominating additional members. The constitution says 50/50, but I am saying because of the mess in the top five, it must be 60/40. Women must be more to enhance this image. We can still correct it, we are not too late and you women must be the ones who stand up.”  

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Responding to Malema’s speech, one of the leadership members said: “We humbly apologise for failing, but we will correct our mistakes. We appreciate the fact that we have an opportunity to correct.”

The assembly was addressed by EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu on Saturday, 5 November. He told delegates to elect leadership that would serve as an official opposition to the ANC, “which continues to show off wealth and spends half of the year in Johannesburg… This is a province that is officially and statistically the poorest province in SA. The number of people who are living under the poverty line is the highest in the Eastern Cape, as compared to any other province.

“The levels of unemployment are the highest… [The province] still has mud schools, [has] pit latrine toilets where kids can easily fall and die… Kids walk long distances to school … [and] healthcare has deteriorated.” Corruption was “rife” in the province, Shivambu said. DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Dennis Bailey says:

    Who would want to be a token woman in the dishevelled leadership of EFF?

  • Sydney Kaye says:

    Another “cake and eat it” gimmick from Malema. He heads a patriachal fascist party but wants his gender qualifications on record.

  • Rory Macnamara says:

    We lament Julius Malema and his prostitute politics! when is he going to jail with his 2IC for the VBS scandal?

  • Gregory Scott says:

    Mr. Malema, you need to be called out for what you are.
    Mr. Malema, you speak with a forked tongue.
    Your mouth and your actions are not synchronised.
    Your actions and the actions of your male-dominated EFF leaders are male chauvinists. The EFF were instrumental in replacing a female mayor in Ekurhuleni and Johannesburg, now the Eastern Cape.
    The only question is why these actions are not being called out by journalists.

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