‘EFF must not become another Cope’

2015-01-18 15:00

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Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) member Andile Mngxitama has begged party leader Julius Malema to “at all costs” avoid letting the EFF devolve into another Congress of the People (Cope).

Mngxitama has written an emotionally charged letter to Malema in what’s been a tumultuous week for the young party.

City Press has also learnt that Magdalene Moonsamy, the party’s elected treasurer-general, has decided to resign from Parliament.

EFF acting spokesperson Fana Mokoena confirmed Moonsamy’s decision.

“She needs to do her articles to complete her legal qualifications. She will continue in her party position on an unpaid basis.”

Moonsamy told City Press in an email: “I am currently serving my articles for 2015 as a candidate attorney. This cannot be done concurrently while being a member of Parliament.”

But another source in the party claimed Moonsamy, the former spokesperson of the ANC Youth League, has fallen out with Malema.

“She’s taking a principled decision – she’s not a ‘yes woman’,” the source said.

Magdalene Moonsamy. Picture: Muntu Vilakazi/City Press

Mngxitama’s letter, which City Press has seen, expresses concern about a threat by former national coordinator Mpho Ramakatsa to take the party to court.

On Friday, a letter from Ramakatsa to Malema was leaked to the media. In the letter, Ramakatsa offered Malema a seven-day ultimatum to reverse the results of the party’s National People’s Assembly.

Ramakatsa called the gathering, an elective conference, “undemocratic, unconstitutional and irregular”.

In the letter, Ramakatsa alleged that EFF branch audit reports had been illegally altered and the party’s audited financial report had not been given to the National People’s Assembly.

If these and numerous other concerns were not addressed, he threatened to approach the courts.

In 2012, Ramakatsa – then a member of the ANC – successfully had the ANC’s Free State provincial elective conference declared unlawful by the Constitutional Court.

Mngxitama wrote to Malema after Ramakatsa’s letter was published, saying court action should be avoided.

“We have emphasised how the EFF must avoid becoming another Cope?…?Such a possibility must be avoided at all costs,” Mngxitama wrote.

He wrote that “post-National People’s Assembly, a lot of members and regional leadership have expressed unhappiness” and that he had “crisscrossed the country talking to disgruntled members, persuading them to stay in the party”.

“Most of these members indicated they were ready to leave the party and some have indeed done so.”

He then pleaded that the party’s audited financial report be made public.

“EFF has nothing to hide. Such a move shall help restore confidence in the party.”

He goes on to say that he and EFF national chairperson Dali Mpofu have agreed that internal political differences must not be dealt with “via the bourgeoisie courts”.

There has been mounting evidence of discord in the party since the National People’s Assembly in December.

Last week, City Press reported that EFF members in the Free State had been observed singing anti-Malema songs and that “purges” of party members allegedly aligned with Ramakatsa had begun.

Spokesperson Mokoena denied this, calling it “nonsense”.

Ramakatsa and other sources in the EFF have told City Press that the party has been divided countrywide, with the majority of members in the Free State, Gauteng, Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal said to be backing Ramakatsa and his view that there were serious discrepancies at the elective conference.

Limpopo and other provinces, they say, do not share this view.

They say Mngxitama is attempting to bring peace between “the factions”, while Mpofu is on the fence.

“He wants to run with the rabbits and hunt with the hounds,” said one source.

Lufuno Gogoro, the EFF branch chairperson of Ward 24 in Gauteng, said none of this surprised him.

“Ramakatsa is not my friend, but I support him in this. He and I are founders of the EFF – but they’ve been trying to sideline him for a long time. When Moonsamy joined, they wanted to make her the national coordinator, replacing him. I refused, along with many others. Ramakatsa has strong leadership and organisational experience.”

Gogoro said he was currently mobilising EFF members countrywide who had been purged by Malema.

“Malema has no principles. He’s abandoned the principle of economic freedom in our lifetime. For him, it’s just about saying ‘pay back the money’ in Parliament. If you dare to say otherwise, you’re accused of being an ANC agent.”

Mokoena did not respond to requests for comment about allegations of factionalism in the party and unhappiness with Malema.

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