'Hoodwinked' EFF walks out of TNA business breakfast

EFF members, led by Dali Mpofu (pictured), left a studio in protest after the panel was altered to exclude all political parties. (Madelene Cronje, M&G)

EFF members, led by Dali Mpofu (pictured), left a studio in protest after the panel was altered to exclude all political parties. (Madelene Cronje, M&G)

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) walked out of a televised breakfast briefing hosted by the New Age newspaper on Thursday because it was "hoodwinked" into attending, the party’s Dali Mpofu said.

"We were invited here on the basis that we were going to be part of the panel. I think that somebody got a fright at Luthuli House [ANC headquarters] and we’ve now been told that we are not going to be on the panel," he said on live TV.

"Normally we would not have been invited here to this breakfast before the elections. Now elections are over, we are invited here," he said before he and other EFF members walked out."

He went on to attack the New Age, ANN7, and the SABC, which broadcast the debate on SABC2, saying it was being used by the ANC.

"The problem is if institutions like the New Age, ANN7, and SABC are going to be used ... then all that must be factored into our performance [in the election] because the entire machinery of the state was used against us [in the run-up to the election]," he said.

All or nothing
Mpofu said because of the false information given to it by the newspaper, the EFF would walk out of the briefing. "Because we were hoodwinked to come here and participate ... and then it didn’t happen, to show you what kind of protest politics we are going to combine with parliamentary politics, we’ve decided to walk out of this breakfast right now for that purpose."

The host of the show, Ayanda-Allie Paine, then interrupted Mpofu and said the show was going to an advertising break.

"This is for the purposes of advertisers and not to get rid of you. Please do sit down and enjoy breakfast with us," she told him.

Mpofu replied, "I’m sorry we have to go."

The group of about six members, clad in red EFF attire, then stood up and briskly walked out to the astonishment of the other guests, shaking hands with some on their way out.

Afterwards, Paine explained why the EFF had not been allowed to be a part of the panel.

"We did invite all major players, the top four [political] parties. Some refused to come. It would not have been fitting practically [to have only the EFF on the panel]," she said. "We wanted to have all or nothing."

Thursday’s breakfast in the end did not include political parties on the panel. Political analysts, including Steven Friedman and Adam Habib, were part of it and spoke about the 2014 elections, previous elections, and what the results meant for some parties. – Sapa

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