Agents provocateurs? Juju in mystery funder’s crosshairs

Julius Malema’s claims of “agents provocateurs” and spies planted in his organisation by the ANC may not be so far-fetched after all.

An unidentified funder is behind a court challenge by a faction within the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) that is trying to win control of Gauteng. 

Supporters of Lufuno Gogoro claim he has been unfairly targeted by Julius Malema and prevented from running as chairperson of the province. Gogoro is a former leader of the party in the province and was ousted after a restructuring process by Malema. He is credited with building support for the EFF in Gauteng. The province delivered 40% of the EFF’s overall vote and is a key battleground for the new party.

A group trying to return Gogoro to power through the party’s new democratic process has hired a team of lawyers and advocates after, they claim, Malema tried to expel Gogoro from the EFF. The group almost interdicted the Gauteng People’s Assembly – EFF parlance for their provincial conference – from going ahead on Friday, fearing that Gogoro’s membership had been revoked. About 50 of their supporters from across the province were brought to the South Gauteng High Court to back Gogoro.

However, an affidavit from the EFF acknowledging Gogoro’s membership stayed their hand. But then the faction was chased out of the election gathering on the weekend, thanks to Gogoro being “disqualified” for contravening the party’s rules about campaigning, according to EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi. He also denied Malema ever tried to expel Gogoro.

Freezing of bank accounts
Now the group is planning further legal action. “We are going to set aside the Gauteng People’s Assembly and then also interdict the national assembly and also push for the freezing of EFF bank accounts so there won’t be any activity before they resolve the issues,” Gogoro told the Mail & Guardian.

Malema is convinced other forces are at play. He told journalists at a press conference shortly after the failed court bid on Friday: “It is a very organised group. It has senior and junior counsel and a team of lawyers and those things come at a serious cost, very expensive … We know that there are forces at play that try to destabilise the EFF.”

The M&G was present at a meeting with the faction and its team of lawyers and advocates. Malema may well be getting a taste of his own medicine. He has previously admitted he was part of similar initiatives to destabilise his opponents while he was in the ANC.

Asked how they were funding the court application, Gogoro initially told the M&G he had been contacted by an anonymous group calling itself “Friends of Julius Malema” that organised their lawyers and transport for their supporters.

“We have never met those people. What they did is communicate to us through phones,” Gogoro said. The group’s motives did not concern him – “all we want is justice”.

Professor Devan Pillay, from the University of the Witwatersrand, said he wouldn’t be surprised if the ANC was behind the attempts. “There is no way a liberation movement formed over 100 years ago that has mastered the art of disorganising the opposition would just stand by,” he said.

“The organisational style invites this sort of thing – there is a legitimate disgruntlement that the ANC can exploit,” said Pillay. “The EFF is trying to control the organisation from the top and when you get agent provocateurs coming in there is fertile ground to exploit.”

The ANC’s Zizi Kodwa denied that the ANC was funding the court bid.

Gogoro later told the M&G he was joking about the anonymous group and said Maxwell Mothlake, who was also kept out of the Gauteng conference, had sold his Audi TT to fund the legal application, in which he is also named. A Gogoro supporter confirmed that a car had been sold to cover the costs.

The group’s lawyers did not comment.

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Verashni Pillay
Verashni Pillay is the former editor-in-chief of the Mail & Guardian, and inaugural editor-in chief of Huffington Post South Africa. She has worked at various periods as senior reporter covering politics and general news, specialises in mediamanagement and relishes the task of putting together the right team to create compelling and principled journalism across multiple platforms.

Related stories

The demon of cronyism in the public service must be crushed

When employees do not give their best, it is the organisation that suffers the most. In the case of government this directly affects citizens

‘We want to occupy the land,’ says EFF’s Malema at Senekal farm murder protest

The party and AfriForum staged protests outside the magistrate’s court during the bail application by two men accused of killing a farm manager in the eastern Free State

South Africa requires a different vision than the ANC’s

In response to Ryno Geldenhuys’s piece Under Mbali Ntuli the DA would offer South Africans a new political home, published in the Mail & Guardian on 13 October

EFF assault case postponed

The case of assault against EFF leader Julius Malema and member of Parliament Mbuyiseni Ndlozi has been postponed because the court in Randburg did not allow the media to broadcast the case

Steenhuisen remains simply the best

With reference to Eusebius McKaiser “The DA’s next leader should have a diverse political toolkit” (Mail&Guardian, September 23)

Calling South African conservatives…

We’ve tried leftism for long enough and what we have to show for it is corruption and mismanagement, when what we need is jobs and education. Is it time to try out a Mashaba-esque version of right-wing politics?

Subscribers only

SAA bailout raises more questions

As the government continues to grapple with the troubles facing the airline, it would do well to keep on eye on the impending Denel implosion

ANC’s rogue deployees revealed

Despite 6 300 ANC cadres working in government, the party’s integrity committee has done little to deal with its accused members

More top stories

Finance probe into the Ingonyama Trust Board goes ahead

The threat of legal action from ITB chairperson Jerome Ngwenya fails to halt forensic audit ordered by the land reform minister

Ailing Far East Rand hospital purchases ‘vanity’ furniture

Dr Zacharia Mathaba, who purchased the furniture, is a suspected overtime fraudster and was appointed as Gauteng hospital chief executive despite facing serious disciplinary charges

Eusebius McKaiser: Reject the dichotomy of political horrors

Senekal shows us that we must make a stand against the loud voice of the populist EFF and racist rightwingers

Seals abort pups in mass die-off

There are a number of factors — a pollutant, virus or bacteria or malnutrition — may have caused the 12 000 deaths on Namibia’s coast

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday