“You are pained that the EFF has increased seats in parliament,” Julius Malema told a journalist at a press briefing on May 16. The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader was answering a question about the funding for the party’s electioneering campaign. The EFF has time and time again accused the media of sabotaging the party. By SHAAZIA EBRAHIM and FATIMA MOOSA.
“The most difficult campaign: we ran it successfully. The EFF is growing. VBS failed, Pauli van Wyk failed, Karima Brown, Ranjeni Munusamy: they all failed. We defeated them,” Malema said. The EFF was never made by the media but by security guards, farm workers and the people who are paid low salaries, he said.
The EFF ran its electioneering campaign on funds provided by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), Malema said. When the party entered into parliament after the 2014 election, it received more funds for the previous election.
The EFF enjoyed considerable success during the national election, the second election the party contested since its 2014 inception. From 6.35 percent in 2014, the EFF grew its support by 4.44 percentage points. When the votes were counted, the party racked up 1 881 521 votes which is 10.79 percent of the vote. The party is now the official opposition in three provinces: the North West, Limpopo, and Mpumalanga.
The EFF thanked the South Africans that voted for the party and the ground forces that spearheaded the party’s electioneering campaign.
EFF growth: hard work and strong leadership
The growth the party experienced was considerable in KwaZulu Natal and the North West. Malema attributed the party’s growth in these provinces to hard work and the deployment of strong teams. “We recruited from the first member upwards,” Malema said adding that they restructured the ground forces in provinces where they had considerable growth.
“You shouldn’t back friendship at the cost of the organisation,” Malema said. He added that those who do not work for the party must be removed.
Malema said certain councillors had not done their duty with regard to the election campaigning process. The party will be pursuing action with the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) against those councillors.
Double voting election issue
During the press briefing, Malema said the party is calling on the IEC. This comes on the back of allegations of double voting which came up during the elections.
He said they want the IEC to immediately work on modernising the electoral system so that the system is ready for the 2021 local elections.
Tshwane: coalitions and the DA
Malema said the party will be taking over leadership in Tshwane. He said they are having ongoing talks with the Democratic Alliance (DA) about possible power sharing in the city.
As for the City of Joburg, Malema said the party will not moving to remove the mayor. “He makes the ANC scared,” he said. Malema added that anyone who makes the ANC scared is someone he holds in high regard.
The EFF is gearing up for parliament
The EFF will move forward in the sixth parliament with motions to nationalise the banks, expropriate the land without compensation, free higher education, and providing sanitary towels for girls and women in schools and universities.
The EFF’s national chairperson Dali Mpofu and treasurer general Leigh-An Mathys will not take seats in parliament, Malema said.
During a press briefing held just before the elections, Malema said that President Cyril Ramaphosa’s position within the ANC is precarious. He reiterated that if Ramaphosa does not go forward with land expropriation Ramaphosa will be removed by his own party. He also said if Ramaphosa does not do away with deputy ministers, there will be a “declaration of war”.
The EFF is not stoking racial tensions, it’s making white supremacy uncomfortable
Malema said the party has never perpetuated hatred and violence. The Human Rights Commission found that Malema’s utterances were not hate speech.
“Stop the imagination. You are imagining a tension between black and white communities caused by the EFF. This is caused by inequality,” he said. Malema said the EFF will combat inequality, and has only succeeded in making white supremacy uncomfortable.
“There has never been violence. We go to violent communities and diffuse tensions,” said Malema, adding he thinks the EFF actually helps mediate xenophobic violence.