EFF commander-in-chief Julius Malema has sent a stern warning to the party’s leadership not to behave like elitists.
“We have started seeing elitest members in the EFF, we do not want those type of leaders,” Malema said.
The leader of the red berets was speaking at the party’s sixth birthday celebrations at the KaNyamazane stadium in Nelspruit on Saturday.
Malema said the party needed humble people who will not be “shaken easily”.
“When you get elected into leadership positions, you are no longer young, you are an old person because you carry on your shoulders a huge responsibility to lead our masses,” he said.
Malema said this in light of many former EFF Fees Must Fall activists who are now Members of Parliament following the May 8 national and provincial elections.
He also spoke about the criticism hurled at them when the party was launched in 2013, that it would not succeed.
“We are here, six years down the line. We are here today fighters not because there is anything special about us, there is nothing special about us. We are continuing with the fight of our ancestors, a fight that started many years ago. We want our land back.”
EFF chairperson Dali Mpofu also weighed in: “They said the EFF would not last, they said it would be like Cope but we are here today celebrating six years.”
Party treasurer-general Leigh-Anne Mathys told City Press that the party’s growth had exceeded their expectations.
“It really brings joy in my heart because of how far we have come as the EFF. We went in there knowing that this thing is going to take a while and the president always says, we are going to eat the elephant bit by bit and we know that we are going to need steady progress.”
The party has had its ups and downs since its launch but it has also influenced major policy shifts.
The EFF student command has been a catalyst in the insourcing of workers at tertiary institutions such Wits University and the University of Pretoria to insource workers.
One of their biggest victories in this campaign, has been in the insourcing of 4 000 security guards by the City of Joburg.
The motion was proposed by the EFF and adopted by the council in February last year.
The red berets are also known for their many controversial statements and court battles.
In March the SA Human Rights Commission found Malema not guilty of hate speech.
The complaints against him were made between 2016 and 2018 over racially charged comments.
This includes Malema’s controversial calls for “the slaughtering of white people”, which was viewed as incitement of violence.
Recently, the party was formally warned under the Electoral Act about the behaviour of its leaders in their treatment of journalist Karima Brown.
This was after the Johannesburg High Court also declared that the party and its leader had breached the electoral code when they did not stop their supporters from “intimidating or threatening” Brown.
The EFF leaders’ alleged involvement in the VBS bank heist can be described as one of the biggest blows for the red berets.
Malema, his deputy Floyd Shivambu and the party itself were accused of benefiting from the wide-scale looting of VBS Mutual Bank, according to the results of an investigation.
The investigation revealed how money allegedly flowed from VBS to a company run by Shivambu’s brother, Brian, called Sgameka Trading. From there it was funnelled to another company called Mahuna Investments, owned by Malema’s cousin, Matsobane Phaleng.
Sgameka received R16 million allegedly stolen from VBS. This was revealed in Advocate Terry Motau’s bombshell investigation report into the collapse of the bank.
Titled The great bank heist, the report was published by the National Treasury. Motau found that the looting of the bank, through the creation of fictitious deposits, totalled more than R2 billion.
Malema and Shivambu both denied any wrong-doing and said this was all part of a ploy to tarnish the party’s reputation.