The Economic Freedom Fighters elected its top six officials, with Julius Malema as president and his long time ally Floyd Shivambu as deputy president.
Former SABC chief executive, Dali Mpofu, was elected new chairperson while EFF MP Godrich Gardee was elected secretary general. Former ANC Youth League spokesperson Magdalene Moonsamy is the party’s new treasurer general and Hlengiwe Hlophe Maxon was elected deputy secretary general. All officials were elected to their new positions uncontested.
Former EFF national co-ordinator, Mpho Ramakatsa, and MP Andile Mngxitama, who were associated with the black consciousness group failed to make it to the top six positions.
There was loud applause, some whistling, and jarring sound from the floor when Malema and other candidates were nominated prompting the presiding officer from Grace Mercy Ministers [a company that oversaw the election process] to tell the fighters to behave.
Delivering his political report to more than 3 000 delegates who attended the EFF’s inaugural national assembly in Mangaung, Malema lambasted elements within his party who were working hard to divide the party.
“We should be careful of staff riders who join the organisation for personal gains. The EFF is a vehicle for real socialist transformation, and whoever is a member of the EFF should be a member par excellence, and not try to pursue individual or other organisational interests within the EFF.
“Staff riders are fighters whose sole intention is to uplift and uphold only one or two cardinal pillars of the EFF at the expense of the rest. Staff riders are fighters with uncontrollable ambitions for power who arrive in the organisation today and tomorrow they want to lead the organisation, ignoring the fact that leaders should first be led for them to be perfect leaders.
“Staff riders are fighters who cause violence and disruption because they have convinced themselves that a People’s Assembly will not have their desired outcomes,” said Malema.
In the past few weeks, a number of violent incidents by EFF members were recorded, as members jostled for positions. In November, it was reported that an EFF conference in Kimberley at the Savoy Hotel became chaotic when some members at the conference were armed with machetes, pangas and bricks. The hotel was vandalised and members threw bricks at each other contesting for positions.
Another meeting that took place in Meyerton in the Midvaal earlier this month resulted in chaos when some members were not allowed to participate in the Gauteng provincial conference. The members accused Malema of ordering guards to shoot them with rubber bullets at a conference intended to elect provincial leaders.
Unruly members won’t be expelled
Malema told journalists the EFF would not expel unruly members from the party. Instead, it would guide them to become better leaders in the future. “I know people in the ANC who used to stab people in the townships. They didn’t go to exile for the movement, they were running away from jail here.
“Once they got there, they were taught about the struggle. Those are the best leaders today. Robben Island was a political university. Some people who went there were thieves and robbers, but were educated at Robben Island, so even when we find and come across these individuals who aren’t there [in the EFF] for the cause, we must not punish them. We need to teach them about the revolution,” said Malema.
Malema said he was not worried about threats to take the EFF to court by a group called defenders of the EFF Constitution, to declared the national assembly invalid.