Factions fight for the soul of the EFF

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) goes into its People’s Assembly – its first elective conference – with Julius Malema uncontested for the position of party leader.

The party, which obtained more than 1?million votes in the general elections, is divided into two factions: those from the ANC Youth League and another faction that has dubbed itself the “black consciousness” group.

Floyd Shivambu, who was among those who formed the EFF after he and Malema were expelled from the ANC, has been nominated for deputy president by the youth league group. But the black consciousness group wants MP Khanyisile Litchfield-Tshabalala as deputy.

However, it is believed she might decline the nomination because she does not want to get involved in a ­leadership tussle with Shivambu.

The position of general secretary will see outspoken MP Godrich Gardee, who has been nominated by the youth league group, contesting Mpho Ramakatsa, who is national coordinator of the EFF.

Ramakatsa is no longer in the youth league’s good books and has the ear of many disgruntled members who have tried to disrupt provincial congresses.

Hlengiwe Maxon is the youth league group’s nominee for deputy secretary while the black consciousness group has nominated Andile Mngxitama for the position.

Magdalene Moonsamy has been nominated by the youth league group for the position of treasurer, but the black consciousness group wants Dali Mpofu to fill that position.

Mpofu has been nominated as chairperson by the youth league group, but the black consciousness faction wants Shivambu in that post.

The youth league group is the dominant faction in the party and many expect its slate to come out tops.

It only has challenges in Gauteng, where party members have rebelled against Malema.

“The youth league did badly in Gauteng. Its candidates could not even get a threshold,” said an insider in the black consciousness faction.

The source said the main cause of friction between the two groups was President Jacob Zuma and the party’s approach in dealing with him. The black consciousness group feels the youth league faction is obsessed with Zuma and that the party’s ideological positions on transforming the economy are taking a back seat as a result.

“We want to move beyond the obsession, but the radical posture will not change whatever happens.”

Ramakatsa said everyone in the EFF had the right to contest for any position. “It is healthy in any organisation that when it goes into its elective assembly, there will be different preferences of leadership. What is happening does not mean the organisation is divided.”

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