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EFF reconstitutes leadership in Eastern Cape ‘in spirit of achieving gender parity’

EFF reconstitutes leadership in Eastern Cape ‘in spirit of achieving gender parity’
Julius Malema during an Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) Press Conference at Winnie Madikizela House on July 14, 2022 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Gallo Images/Luba Lesolle)

The EFF has recomposed its Eastern Cape top five leadership to ensure women are represented.

The War Council of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) on Sunday resolved to reconstitute the Eastern Cape provincial leadership.

The EFF held a special extended Provincial Command Team (PCT) meeting, with its second-in-command, Floyd Shivambu, in attendance. 

The War Council is made up of 13 members of the Central Command Team (CCT), who with the officials are responsible for the everyday activities of the EFF, ensuring proper and timeous implementation of the CCT’s decisions and submitting reports to the CCT. The CCT is the highest decision-making authority in the party.

A week ago, the party held its Eastern Cape Provincial People’s Assembly (PPA) in East London which failed to elect a single woman into the top leadership structure of five people.

Party leader Julius Malema came down hard on delegates, saying the failure to elect women into the top positions was an injustice to the liberation of women, which it often advocates for.

“You have failed to fulfil your mission, and … in everything else we do, we put women at the centre of whatever we are doing,” he told the PPA.

Malema ‘not proud of top five’

Initially, Zilindile Kalushi Vena was chairperson of the province, Mlamli Makhetha was deputy chairperson, Simthembile Madikizela was secretary, Zolile Mgqwayiza was deputy secretary and Thembinkosi Apleni was 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 disrespect from all of you to the women of Eastern Cape, to the women of South Africa.” 

Malema questioned the rationale of female delegates who voted male delegates into the top positions — most of the delegates were women.

Recomposed leadership

Following the special meeting, the party announced that the War Council had resolved that the women who had contested the positions of provincial deputy chairperson and provincial deputy secretary, Nokuthula Mlokoti and Zikhona Njoli, respectively, would assume those roles, while those who had been elected would remain as additional members of the PCT.

Mlokoti had lost by 46 votes, Njoli by two. 

An EFF media statement said: “In the true spirit of achieving gender parity and representation in all structures of the movement, the War Council took a correct and constitutionally permissible decision to include the females in the Top 5 of the Eastern Cape PCT.” 

The party added that the two men who had occupied the positions had welcomed the decision.

The EFF has 114 seats in the 33 councils in the Eastern Cape, while the ANC has 955 and the DA 168. It has five seats in the provincial legislature, while the ruling ANC has 44 and the DA 10.

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So far, the EFF has convened PPAs in eight provinces — and all are all led by men. Only Limpopo is yet to elect new leadership — the leadership structures in the province and its regions were disbanded in January after a poor showing in the November 2021 local government elections. The EFF in Limpopo is holding regional PPAs and Mbuyiseni Ndlozi is the convener in the province.

The move to recompose the top leadership was met with mixed emotions by party members. Some welcomed the move, saying the party was struggling to attract women to its ranks.

“Throwing away a democratic vote for female inclusion… I am a bit conflicted,” said one supporter. “We must change the party constitution to have women in the top five as a requirement.”

Shivambu said the move showed the party’s commitment to gender parity. “We implemented a decisive War Council resolution on the reconstitution of the EFF top five officials. We are a movement that’s truly committed to gender parity and always guided by democratic centralism.”

The party said Eastern Cape remained one of the poorest provinces in South Africa with the highest levels of corruption and a lack of government commitment at provincial and local levels. 

“As a result, the EFF in the Eastern Cape has committed to intensify its political, ideological and organisational work towards the 2024 elections.” DM

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