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Former EFF Limpopo chairperson Jossey Buthane ditches Red Berets and returns to ANC

Former EFF Limpopo chairperson Jossey Buthane ditches Red Berets and returns to ANC
Former Limpopo leader EFF Jossey Buthane at the partys second anniversary on 25 July 2015 in Rustenburg. (Photo: Gallo Images / Thapelo Maphakela).

Former EFF leader in Limpopo Jossey Buthane has rejoined the ANC after falling out with Red Berets’ leader Julius Malema. He wants to focus on building the ANC’s support in the province ahead of next month’s elections.

Former EFF Limpopo chairperson Jossey Buthane is determined to lower the EFF’s support in Limpopo following his exit from the party.

Buthane became the EFF’s Limpopo coordinator in 2014 before he was elected secretary and then chairperson in 2018. However, the EFF’s Limpopo structures were disbanded by the party’s leadership in early 2022 because of poor election results.

Buthane was also an EFF MPL in the Limpopo legislature from 2014 until his resignation.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Elections 2024

The announcement of Buthane’s return to the ANC was made during the Solomon Mahlangu Memorial Lecture at Jack Botes Hall in Polokwane on Sunday.

Speaking to Daily Maverick on Monday, he explained how he had been mobilising communities to join the ANC and to ditch the EFF.

“We are going to hurt it [the EFF] badly. As I am speaking to you now, in Sekhukhune current EFF members have left. One of the members brought 217 people and I brought 190 people. We are taking people who are very relevant to the EFF. We are not just taking new people who do not know anything.

‘Arrogance’

“It will send a message that arrogance must come down and that people should be treated with respect. I am not just going to fold my hands. The very same energy I used to take ANC supporters when I left [the ANC], I will use now. I am going to work tirelessly to take back the wards that the ANC has lost in Limpopo,” he said. 

The EFF is the leading opposition party in Limpopo. It won 10.74% of the vote in 2014 to the ANC’s 78.6%, which increased to 14.43% to the ANC’s 75.49% in 2019.

In local government elections, the EFF emerged as the leading opposition in Limpopo in 2016 with 16.73% of the vote. Its support declined to 14.27% in 2021.

The EFF declined to comment on Buthane’s move to the ANC.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Land, jobs and energy dominate as EFF launches its manifesto ahead of polls

Buthane, a former Malema loyalist, claims to have been surprised by the decision to disband the EFF Limpopo structures in early 2022 because of poor performance in the 2021 polls.

The decision was taken by the party’s national command council after a four-day national leadership plenary at which it analysed its election performance and inducted councillors who were elected in the local government poll.

A team of national leaders, led by MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, was then appointed to oversee the process of rebuilding structures. 

“At the meeting, comrades wanted to discuss the performance of provinces and he [Malema] did not want us to discuss it. Then the next day we disbanded. I was shocked but kept quiet,” Buthane said. 

“When my branch did not launch on the first attempt — my branch was the biggest — he attacked me on TV and I kept quiet. Many branches failed to launch but I was the one who was picked and attacked.”  

‘Sold out the EFF’

Buthane later learnt that Malema used his speech at the party’s list conference earlier this year to “attack” him.

In the video in question, Malema condemned anyone who betrayed his loyalty and referred to Buthane.

“I was asked to help a man who sold out to the EFF, by resigning from the legislature without informing the leadership and I had to hear from an ANC member that my soldier has resigned,” Malema said while addressing attendees at the EFF list conference in Durban.

Buthane resigned from the provincial legislature after the provincial structure was disbanded.

“At some point, I was told that the leader of the EFF was attacking me when he opened the list conference. Then when I heard the clip, I thought to myself that this comrade disbanded me and I did not say a thing and I was told about the disbandment from other people. Yet, we were the ones who got many wards,” Buthane said.

‘We are not scared’

In a series of Facebook posts last week, which seemed to be directed towards Malema, Buthane expressed his thoughts about what had transpired.

“Stop behaving like a woman who is refusing a divorce. Respect our respect for you and stop this thing you are doing. Your organisation has good people and a great future if u can’t respect yourself at least respect them.

“That nonsense of going around insulting and talking nonsense about us must come to an end. We are not scared and we were never scared of you, we just respected you and your office and mostly took you as a brother. Continue talking rubbish, you will see and you will know what we mean. There will be no limits and no one must try to cool us down because you spoke a lot of nonsense until o e tshwa lemina [you had snot running down your nose] and they kept quiet,” he vented.

Buthane told Daily Maverick, “Many people are not happy there … you cannot speak out or you are gone. Many of them are scared to leave or talk as they will lose the position of MPL, they are actually protecting their salaries.”

Read more in Daily Maverick: EFF election manifesto – Fact-checking four big claims on land, wealth, crime and sanitation in South Africa

He said the ANC had a more democratic culture.

“The ANC is a reasonable organisation. I am a politician and I must have a political home. Besides the ANC in SA, there is no other organisation but also, I wanted an organisation where [when] you speak your views, someone will not take it personally.” DM

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