When EFF leader Julius Malema stood up in Parliament at the 2015 State of the Nation Address (Sona) and said, â€œIt is my right to speak as a member of this house,â€ his voice rung with conviction. But as Malema complained about the violence against his party at Parliament, he conveniently forgot the violence the EFFÂ had, that same day, inflicted on one of their own, writes RAâ€
As I took my seat in a cosy conference room at the Cape Sun Hotel, a colleague turned to me and asked, â€œWhat is going on?â€ We all wanted the answer, but it wouldnâ€
The two MPs arrived late, looking tense and tired. At first EFF members were asked to leave. They shouted and protested until they were told they could stay. Just as Mngxitama was about to head to his podium, Bernard Joseph, the Western Cape provincial chairperson of the EFF, rose up and declared the whole event a farce.
Joseph said that Mngxitama was no longer a member of the EFFâ€
It all happened so fast. Around the room, people began dancing and singing â€“ within seconds a toyi-toyi was in full swing.
I turned away from the crowd to see Mngxitamaâ€
Suddenly, I felt the crowd of journalists around me disperse, and I instinctively backed away from Mngxitama. Men in red regalia rushed forward, heading straight towards the lone Fighter.
It was meant to be a press conference, but the niceties of a media address had been swallowed by this raw, brutal attack. Malema may have condemned the way in which police had callously expelled EFF MPs from the opening of Parliament, but heÂ has barely breathed a word against what his own party had done to Mngxitama. His loyalists spoke to me with pride.
â€œWhat you perceive as violence was just a demand from the leadership of the Western Cape for Andile to remove all the gear of the EFF,â€ Monwabisi Maswana, the ward 53 chairperson in the Western Cape, told me, as Mngxitama hurried away from the hotel, and ran to his car, Malema loyalists chasing after him.
At a press briefing on Friday, Malema heartily clarified that Mngxitama has a right to speak. The EFF comander in chief gave his EFF Western Cape leaders a dressing down for the way Mngxitama was treated. However, Malema reasoned, it was right that Mngxitamaâ€
Parliament may be more entertaining with the EFFâ€
Politicians are leaders, but Mngxitamaâ€
Mngxitama eventually told reporters that the press conference had been called to inform people that Malema had been in cahoots with ANC members to expel seven EFF MPs from Parliament in exchange for no disruptions during President Jacob Zumaâ€
Nevermind, the chaos in Parliament last night: the EFF â€“ Mngxitamaâ€
– All images: By Raâ€