The EFF is still managing the fallout from its conference late last year, with fears that at least two provincial chairpersons, who did not align themselves with the dominant slate at the conference, might be pushed out of the party.
The red berets are set to announce the appointment of former #FeesMustFall activist and central command team member Vuyani Pambo to the position of national spokesperson, replacing Mbuyiseni Ndlozi who has held the position for almost eight years.
This announcement is expected to be made at a media briefing today at the end of the party’s sixth plenum held in Centurion at the weekend.
City Press understands that EFF Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal chairpersons Mandisa Mashego and Vusumuzi Khoza are skating on thin ice after they fell out with senior party leaders aligned to the “Matorokisi” slate leading up to last year’s conference.
Sources within the red berets told City Press that “there has been a concerted effort to frustrate the pair”.
“They [Mashego and Khoza] have been sidelined. One thing that [party leader Julius] Malema will not do is fire anyone; his strategy is to frustrate people until they resign,” said a source close to the matter.
Last week a tweet was sent from Malema’s personal Twitter account to former City of Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba, which read: “I’m told one or two of my provincial chairpersons, one from the inland province and one from the coastal province, are also speaking to you. Please speed up the process.”
On Thursday Malema did not dispute having sent the tweet, but dismissed the possibility that he could have been referring to the chairpersons of Mpumalanga and the Eastern Cape when he said “one inland and one coastal chairperson”.
“Those are the most disciplined chairpersons.”
When contacted for comment this week, Mashaba did not confirm or deny allegations that he was in talks with the two EFF chairpersons, telling City Press only that he had seen Malema’s tweet and chose not to respond “because I do not respond to rumours”.
Mashaba said he had a “good working relationship with the EFF and ANC when I was mayor”.
“At the moment I do not have any relationship with any political party because I am no longer mayor.”
EFF secretary-general Marshall Dlamini said the EFF was unaware “of which chairpersons have been communicating with former mayor Herman Mashaba”, however “these are still rumours and we want to get to the bottom of them before making pronouncements”.
In what seemed to be a defiant response, Khoza posted on social media platform Twitter, saying: “Sanibonani Bahlali [Greetings citizens]. I hereby confirm that you are stuck with us in this coastal province of KwaZulu-Natal. We are going nowhere. If that gives you chest pains, sorry, deal with it!”
This seemingly upset the EFF’s Mpumalanga leader, Collen Sedibe, a staunch ally of Malema who tweeted, saying: “You can’t be pompous and tell the organisation that it is stuck with you; the EFF is a big wave it will sweep you and you will diminish without a trace. Ask others [who] have come before you.”
Speaking to City Press, Sedibe cleared the air, saying: “There isn’t any tension between me and Vusi [Khoza], I did not mention any name in my response on Twitter. I was just saying that the organisation is not stuck with anyone.”
Instead of ensuring that “Matorokisi” aligned individuals, EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu and Dlamini were elected unopposed, Mashego accepted nomination for the secretary-general position, which had been long earmarked for Malema’s close ally, Dlamini.
City Press reported previously that Mashego was at the forefront of canvassing votes for former national chairperson Dali Mpofu, who also defied the party and tried to stand against Shivambu.
Both Mashego and Mpofu failed to garner enough votes to make it to the ballot box.
This week rumours circulated that Mashego had resigned from the EFF, but the party denied it.
However, when contacted, Mashego refused to confirm or deny the rumour, choosing rather to say she would not be communicating her membership status to the media.
Outgoing spokesperson Ndlozi said: “Mandisa Mashego has not resigned from the party; it is a misunderstanding.”
Another well-placed source in the EFF told City Press: “I am pretty sure Vusi Khoza of KwaZulu-Natal is next [to go] because he was against the lack of democracy in the party leading up to the elective conference. And, according to party leaders, all these people are defiant, lack loyalty and should be shown the door.”