Freedom Fighters on the march to Parliament

2014-05-11 15:00

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Now that Malema's Economic Freedom Fighter (EFF) has 25 seats in the National Assembly, Sabelo Ndlangisa looks at the party's top 10 MP's.

1. Julius Malema needs no introduction after shooting to fame in 2008 at a bum-baring ANC Youth League conference that failed to elect a leader. The ANC leadership then decided that the young man from Seshego in Limpopo was right for the job.

Julius Malema

Now 33, Malema leads the country’s third-biggest party in terms of electoral support. The “commander in chief” will face his nemesis, President Jacob Zuma, at close range after a very long time –?in Parliament.

2. Mpho Ramakatsa a former Robben Islander and Umkhonto weSizwe operative (45), he is regarded as the “grey hairs” of the EFF.

Mpho Ramakatsa

The party’s national coordinator grew up in the Free State mining town of Welkom and entered politics through the student movement in the 1980s.

A father of two, Ramakatsa left the ANC after successfully challenging the legality of the Free State ANC’s 2012 conference, which led to its dissolution by the Constitutional Court on the eve of that year’s Mangaung conference.

3. Leigh-Ann Mathys

Leigh-Ann Mathys

The party’s finance boss has kept a low profile since joining the party at its informal launch at Constitution Hill in Joburg.

Her duties include fundraising and fielding requests from “fighters” who are keen to buy EFF merchandise like berets and T-shirts.

She told City Press a few months ago that she was never politically active before joining the EFF.

Her low profile extends to Twitter, where she mostly retweets comments from other EFF supporters.

4. Like Malema , Floyd Shivabu (31) is a former ANC Youth League leader and doubled as its spokesperson before the ANC suspended his membership for three years.

Floyd Shivambu

He grew up in Malamulele in Limpopo and has lived in Gauteng for a number of years. Shivambu started his activism at Wits University where he obtained a master’s degree in politics.

He was also active in the Young Communist League. Shivambu was one of the ANC Youth League leaders who pushed for the ANC to investigate the feasibility of nationalising the mines.

5.  A resident of Durban, Hlengiwe Hlophe served as a ward councillor for the ANC in Inanda, Durban, between 2000 and 2006.

Hlengiwe Hlophe

During her term as the deputy national chairperson of the ANC Youth League, she also worked as a project manager for a slum-dwellers organisation.

The mother of one child, she left the ANC in 2009 to join Cope, which she hoped would be an alternative to the ANC. She left Cope to join the EFF last year.

6. Godrich Gardee, a senior civil servant from Mpumalanga (46), grew up in a village outside Hazyview and was involved in the student movement before joining the ANC in exile in 1988.

Godrich Gardee

He returned in 1996 after doing a higher diploma in accounting in Nigeria.

Gardee was provincial treasurer of the ANC Youth League in the 1990s and served on Mpumalanga’s youth commission. He told City Press: “I believed that, like an ocean, [the ANC] would cleanse itself. Instead, it drew more dirt to itself.”

The rest of the party’s top 10 consists of the “commissar” for international relations, Magdalene Moonsamy; national spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, who is a PhD candidate at Wits University; Tebogo Mokwele (38), who serves in the EFF’s central command team and is responsible for infrastructure; and black consciousness activist Andile Mngxitama.

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