Red berets battle for soul of EFF

2015-02-17 16:37

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It was red vs red in the heart of Sandton today as a small crowd of Economic Freedom Fighters determined to “save the (party’s) soul” clashed with those loyal to leader Julius Malema.

At one point Lucky Twala brandished a gun at a group of about 20 EFF supporters trying to stop himself and fellow MPs Mpho Ramakatsa, Andile Mngxitama and Khanyisile Litchfield-Tshabalala from entering the Capital Moloko hotel.

The Malema supporters were outnumbered by armed police officers and security guards, who kept a close eye on proceedings.

Twala said during a Q&A session after their press conference that his gun was legal and he carried it because there’d been an attempt on Mngxitama’s life in Cape Town last week.

Twala said: “I am a military man, I am a solider, it is in me. You don’t want to be shot at first so it was a counter measure after last week’s events in Cape Town.”

Mngxitama was attacked during an abortive press conference in Cape Town last week ahead of the State of the Nation Address.

The quartet and their supporters plan to officially launch a campaign to “save the soul of the EFF” on Saturday in Mangaung.

“We note that there has been a systematic erosion of organisational memory through the sidelining of those who were there at the beginning,” Litchfield-Tshabalala said.

“The EFF is in real danger of being derailed from its original mission and being turned into a weapon of reaction, hooliganism and a criminal gang.”

She then accused Malema and his right-hand man Floyd Shivambu of being involved in “corrupt practices”.

They said the party’s practice was for MPs to give 10% of their salaries to the EFF but claimed that Malema and Shivambu didn’t do this.

“All EFF funding is controlled by the two (Malema and Shivambu) and done so under great secrecy and intimidation. No one dare ask how money is used,” Ramakatsa said.

When asked to provide documentary evidence of this mismanagement the group said they had been advised not to give it out ahead of a planned court appearance on Friday.

They hope the court will grant them an order for an independent audit into the party’s finances.

Despite their allegations, the group doesn’t seem to have given up on Malema.

“We believe that Julius Malema has changed. He is a brilliant leader but he is compromised. We don’t want Julius Malema out – we want to assist him. He is a good leader but he is not being allowed to be a good leader,” Litchfield-Tshabalala said.

The EFF responded on Twitter: “But we thought there was a press conference that’s going to be explosive. All we hear is gossip and unfounded allegations. But we march forward.”

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