The Economic Freedom Fighters has set itself an ambitious target to reach 1-million membership before the 2016 local government elections.
According to the party’s organisational report, expected to be presented to over 3 000 delegates attending the EFF’s inaugural conference in Mangaung, the party has registered more than 527 000 paid-up members since it was launched in July last year.
Led by former ANC Youth League president Julius Malema, the EFF surprised many when it received more than 1-million votes during the May general elections. This saw the new and youthful party receiving 25 seats in the national assembly, six in the National Council of Provinces and 30 in eight of the nine provincial legislatures across the country.
Now with representatives in the national assembly and provincial legislatures, the party is adamant that it could perform even better during the 2016 local government elections and the 2019 general elections.
“While there was no publicly stated target, it was the common view of the EFF that we could have performed far much better than 6.25% we received. We went into elections with no experience and literally no financial resources needed to sustain an election campaign.
“What is inspiring though is that we got votes in all corners of South Africa, dispelling the myth that we could be a regional political party. The fact that voters of the EFF came from all provinces and all regions is a great inspiration for the movement to grow stronger and more formidable,” reads the EFF’s organisational report.
Preparations for more membership
While the party has established regional structures throughout the country, it is unhappy with the current membership database system.
Provinces were still struggling to submit membership lists and most branches submitted only membership forms for purposes of pre-audit and preparations for their Branch People’s Assemblies [BPA].
“Most branches with membership exceeding 300 only submitted 100 membership forms to reach a quorum of 50% + 1 in the respective Branch People’s Assemblies. The consequences of this resulted in a situation where the total membership of the EFF and what was audited for the purposes of the Branch People’s Assemblies. As will be reflected in the reports of the provinces, the total audited membership for purposes of the BPAs is 318 238, while the number of members which were paid for and reflected in the Bank membership payment is 527 343.
“The membership of the EFF is therefore 527 343 and this is a number we should grow to more than a million in preparation of the 2016 local government elections,” reads the organisational report.
The report warns that a lack of a proper database that was auditable and captures the number of people per province, region and a ward, would affect the ability of the organisation to measure its growth and strength.
“The creation of such a membership data will assist the organisation in readily accessing information on its members. The incoming CCT [central command team] should perfect the membership system and should internalize high level capacity to know of the demographic profiles of all its members and their conditions.”