/ 17 December 2014

Malema: I’m no cry baby, insults are part of the game

EFF leader Julius Malema greets members on the final day of the party's conference.
EFF leader Julius Malema greets members on the final day of the party's conference.

The Economic Freedom Fighters is more united than ever following its elective conference in Bloemfontein, said EFF leader Julius Malema. 

“The EFF has defended itself. It protected itself,” he told reporters during a press conference. “It has come out [more] united than ever from a conference where people thought there would be chairs flying.”

Malema said the EFFwent to Mangaung and were able to conduct their conference without any blood being spilled.

“We came here, opened, elected leadership, took resolutions, got a declaration, got an acceptance speech with no blood on the floor. “Everything went smooth,” he said. 

Malema during his closing remarks earlier in the day told delegates who lost out on leadership positions and declined nomination that they still had a home in the party. 

“Those of you who did not meet the required threshold or declined nomination, it is your call to remain in the party,” he said at the party’s elective conference in Bloemfontein. “No member of Parliament is going to be removed for accepting or declining a nomination.”

Malema added that what transpired during the nomination of 35 members to the party’s central command team was not chaos. He said the conference had been disciplined.

On Monday delegates from Gauteng protested when a list of candidates for the central command team was circulated. They stormed out of the venue, at the University of the Free State, and started hurling insults at Malema. 

The party’s commissar for land, Andile Mngxitama, declined a nomination to join the party’s command team, saying his “revolutionary consciousness” would not allow him to do so.

Malema said many complained about the process because they were new to politics. “All of you who were chanting during elections, we forgive you because we know elections can be emotional. All those who burnt the list because you did not agree with it, you had every right,” he said. 

Malema said party members had disappointed their enemies by [not] being on their best behaviour. He called on members to maintain discipline. 

“We are all new to politics. We are going to be patient with one another because tomorrow we will be better politicians,” he said. Malema said there were no individual winners or losers, and the party had credible leaders.

Not a dictator
He defended his leadership style and said he was not a dictator. “There was no suppression of dissent, there was never anything I did that pointed to dictatorship,” Malema said. 

He was referring to a dispute that arose on Monday night over nominations of additional committee members that saw delegates from Gauteng protest outside. Some of the protesting delegates accused Malema of being a liar and a dictator. 

Malema imposed candidates on them, they said. 

As a leader, he stood up to prevent the conference from collapsing. “I am a president and must provide leadership. There is no dictatorship here,” he said. He said that being insulted was part of the game. 

“These things of being insulted are part of the game people … I can’t be a cry baby. Sometimes one takes unpopular decisions, and that’s the name of the game.” 

Deputy president Floyd Shivambu earlier told delegates the party would do anything possible to achieve economic freedom. Delegates endorsed resolutions from various commissions and the election of party leadership. – Sapa