EFF to elect leaders amid ‘factional battles’

2014-12-12 16:24

A year after its establishment, the EFF heads to its first elective congress on the back of violent provincial congresses and allegations of factionalism.

The party is set to hold a four-day elective congress at the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein starting tomorrow.

Julius Malema, who is commander-in-chief of the “red berets”, is poised to be elected president of the Economic Freedom Fighters unopposed. But it might not be smooth sailing for the charismatic leader.

Factions have formed within the party with some disgruntled members expressing dissatisfaction with Malema’s leadership.

A group calling itself “defenders of the EFF constitution”, led by Lufuno Gogoro, does not want Malema at the helm of the organisation.

It has branded him a “liar” and “dictator”, and accused him of being unapproachable.

The group has charged that Malema refused to listen to members, except for Chief Whip Floyd Shivambu.

Two other factions have reportedly formed within the EFF. One consists of youth league members and the other calls itself “black consciousness”.

The EFF was formed after Malema was kicked out of the ANC and a number of top officials in the ANCYL were suspended.

The other two factions also have different ideas about who should lead the party.

The City Press reported that those from the youth league want Shivambu as EFF deputy president while the black consciousness group wants MP Khanyisile Litchfield-Tshabalala as deputy.

The newspaper reported that it was believed she might decline the nomination as she did not want to get involved in a leadership tussle with Shivambu.

Other positions up for grabs include that of general secretary.

EFF MP Godrich Gardee enjoys the support of the youth league for the position. He will be challenged for the position by national co-ordinator Mpho Ramakatsa.

Other candidates for top positions include Hlengiwe Maxon, who has been nominated for deputy secretary by the youth league, while the black consciousness group has nominated Andile Mngxitama.

Lawyer Dali Mpofu and Shivambu have been nominated for the position of chairperson. Magdalene Moonsamy has been nominated for the position of treasurer along with Mpofu.

The party will have a mammoth task managing the factions following chaotic provincial conferences.

In the Northern Cape, EFF members reportedly armed with machetes, pangas and bricks converged on a hotel in November where the provincial leadership was to be elected.

Cases of assault and damage to property were opened.

The party is no stranger to controversy and disruptions as it has shown in its first term in Parliament.

Highly visible in red overalls and pinafores, EFF members have ignited a spark in Parliament that has seen many debates and sittings turn into sessions of name calling and insults, mostly with the mantra “pay back the money”.

This refers to the party’s demand that President Jacob Zuma say when he is going to pay back the portion of money the Public Protector said was irregularly spent on security upgrades at the president’s home at Nkandla, in KwaZulu-Natal.

These tactics have led to at least 20 MPs being suspended from the House without pay. The party has challenged the suspension and taken the matter to the Constitutional Court.

The party filed papers today after Cape High Court President Judge John Hlophe dismissed its application to contest their suspensions.

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