Malema faces mutiny in the Free State

2015-01-11 18:00

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

The fragile unity of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) is under threat, with members of the party vowing to stop leader Julius Malema from speaking in the Free State and singing anti-Malema songs at a funeral last weekend.

Further signs of internal ructions include a letter written by the party’s former commissar on land, Andile Mngxitama, to Malema, asking him to stop the purge of members from the party.

In an email from Mngxitama to Malema this week, which City Press has seen, Mngxitama tells Malema: “I need to bring to your attention a very worrying post-NPA (National People’s Assembly) development. Contrary to your words when closing the NPA – that there shall be no witch-hunts and punishment of fighters – the truth is there is general fear within the staff of the EFF in the various regions and provinces.

“This fear is generated by threats and actual dismissals of EFF employees, often without due process, or worse, by sheer intimidation.

“President, we are a socialist party. We need to lead by example when it comes to the rights of workers.”

The email goes on to clarify Mngxitama’s concerns relating to EFF employees in the Free State provincial office. Staff members said to be in the firing line are an admin secretary, a general assistant and a legislature administrator – whose names are known to City Press.

At the funeral of one of the party’s lawyers, Peter Danster, in Kroonstad, Free State, hundreds of members reportedly sang anti-Malema songs.

One of the party’s regional coordinators from the area, who requested that his name be withheld, explained why: “They were very angry because of what happened at the NPA – people were appointed, not elected.

“Malema has already disbanded most of the party’s old structures,” said the source.

Sabata Seitlheko, an EFF member from Mangaung in charge of organisational development in the region, confirmed that the inflammatory songs had been sung.

The biggest bone of contention for those upset with Malema appears to be “the sidelining” of Mpho Ramakatsa, the EFF’s former national coordinator, who failed to make the party’s top six and is now an “ordinary member” of the EFF, though still an MP.

“Malema and his allies are now purging those they think are Ramakatsa allies,” said one source.

One such person is said to be Austin Semela, who until Tuesday was working in the party’s Bloemfontein office, typing up membership forms for a R3 000 salary. He claims he was summarily fired.

“My boss [EFF provincial chairperson Khotso Morapela] accused me of taking instructions from Ramakatsa and said that he was a dangerous man. I’ve gone to the CCMA for resolution because I didn’t received any written warnings before they fired me. It was merely a verbal dismissal.”

Ramakatsa explained that he had been instructed by Morapela that he was not to be part of the party’s top six, but should accept a position as one of the additional 35. He refused and stood for the secretary-general position, but failed to garner the 30% required for nomination.

When asked if he also expected to be “purged” from his position in Parliament, Ramakatsa said: “I’d rather not talk about that right now.”

When asked for comment about the email he wrote to Malema, Mngxitama preferred not to comment. He would not say if he had received a reply.

The party’s acting spokesperson, Fana Mokoena, said: “Julius is not part of any of this nonsense. Democracy took place at the NPA. We knew some people would not be happy. I know nothing about purges. It’s now so soon after the NPA that there hasn’t really been official business yet. I would have to investigate this,” Mokoena said.

“There are many people in the party who bring baggage from other organisations with them. It’s not under our control, but Julius made it clear that the last thing we should do is purge anyone, anywhere.”

He also said there was no way Ramakatsa would lose his MP seat as “it would look bad and that’s also not what we want”.

When asked for comment, Morapela said Semela was a volunteer and the R3 000 was a stipend for transport and other costs.

He claimed to have a good relationship with Ramakatsa. “I respect him and believe he respects me too.”

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.