Unhappy EFF ‘defenders’ want Malema axed

There is a new bunch of Economic Freedom Fighters in town – but unlike the party’s loyal rank and file, they are united in their desire to rid it of commander-in-chief Julius Malema.

Dubbed the “EFF defenders” and led by Lufuno Gogoro, the party’s ousted Gauteng organiser, the group is made up of members and former members who want Malema expelled.

With some calling themselves “members of the EFF in good standing”, the group of about 10 held its first press conference in Johannesburg today. It paints itself as the representatives of disgruntled party members who have been “forced out” in the past year.

The group said there were many more disgruntled members who could not be bussed to the press conference, but was unable to say exactly how many.

As Malema prepares to tackle President Jacob Zuma in Parliament during the president’s State of the Nation address on Thursday night, the EFF defenders will be doing the same to Malema, according to Gogoro.

“We are not going to form any party, but we are going to fight to rescue this organisation from Julius because they [the EFF leadership] are no longer doing what they were mandated to do,” said Gogoro. 

“We are also going to be looking at going to the courts and discussing with our lawyers the best way forward on that. But the issue of forming a breakaway party or organisation has not even entered our minds. It is not on the table.”

‘Light years ahead’
The EFF has refused to be drawn into the matter, merely stating that it “will not be responding to a breakaway claim” adding that it “know[s] who these people are. We are light years ahead!”

Gogoro said the group would set out to mobilise displaced members and bring them back into the party to help strengthen the fight against Malema.

“And also to defend their constitutional rights. Every member has the right to be part of the political party and by ‘purging’ members, it means you don’t respect your constitution and you don’t respect individual rights. So we are going to try to lure every member who is disgruntled and those who have left to join us so that together we can fight and rescue this organisation and make sure that the cushy politicians have no space to operate.”

Gogoro was ousted in June last year, a move that party spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said at the time was “purely organisational” and aimed at improving the overall functioning of the fledgling party’s structures.

Gogoro said the group was not attempting to damage the EFF, because the party’s leaders had already done that – it was simply trying to prevent further embarrassment.

At the EFF defenders’ press conference, there were also some people wearing purple T-shirts with the words “New EFF” and the party logo inscribed on them. Gogoro said these were people who had formed their own party after they had left the EFF last year.

“We are also trying to win them back and bring them into the party so they can join the fight. They decided to join us today at the press conference because they feel our pain and have been right where we are.”

He said the EFF and the defenders would never turn into another Congress of the People – the party formed in 2008 by disaffected ANC members after Thabo Mbeki was removed as president – as they would not allow it to disintegrate that far.

‘Why would we be happy?’
“But we are saying if Julius wants to kill this movement, we won’t allow it and it can only be the general members of the EFF who can kill it. Not Lufuno, not Malema. Only those who have given up everything for this organisation can dissolve it.”

He said people who had called them disgruntled and did not take them seriously were now joining the fight.

“Yes, we are disgruntled, because the leadership is failing the organisation. Why would we be happy?”

The EFF, refused to be drawn on the defenders’ press conference, but tweeted halfway through it, saying: “The EFF constitution demands of members to observe a unified discipline. The individual is subordinate to the organisation.”

Meanwhile, the party says it will not back down from its plan to get Zuma to answer questions on Thursday related to the money spent on his home in Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal.

Ndlozi said the party would not wait until the date the president has set aside to answer questions as it wanted to “demonstrate the power of the Constitution”.

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.

Related stories

Two MECs fail to understand their harmful blunders

The Western Cape’s Debbie Schäfer missed the point about racism and the North West’s Mmaphefo Matsemela undermined the dignity of a young man

‘Let ANC deal with its leaders facing corruption charges,’ Ramaphosa tells parliament

The president was answering questions before parliament, where he also told the EFF to allow the courts to decide on the matter of the CR17 bank statements

Mabuza asked to account for why ministers were seated next to Malema in Senekal

MPs can’t seem to stop the house from degenerating into screaming matches, even during virtual sittings, as exhibited when the deputy president answered questions in the NCOP on Wednesday.

Does the Expropriation Bill muddy the land question even further?

Land ownership and its equitable distribution has floundered. Changes to a section of the constitution and the expropriation act are now before parliament, but do they offer any solution?

EFF eyes municipalities ahead of 2021 local government elections

EFF leader Julius Malema says the party is preparing to govern in many municipalities from next year. It is also launching a programme to defend the rights of farm workers

Distraction, intimidation and future alliances define events at Senekal

The lack of compassion towards Brendin Horner’s family is the failure of identity politics

Subscribers only

Covid-19 surges in the Eastern Cape

With people queuing for services, no water, lax enforcement of mask rules and plenty of partying, the virus is flourishing once again, and a quarter of the growth is in the Eastern Cape

Ace prepares ANC branches for battle

ANC secretary general Ace Magashule is ignoring party policy on corruption-charged officials and taking his battle to branch level, where his ‘slate capture’ strategy is expected to leave Ramaphosa on the ropes

More top stories

Journey through anxious Joburg

A new book has collected writing about the condition of living, yes, with a high crime rate, but also other, more pervasive existential urban stresses particular to the Global South

Football legend Maradona dies

The Argentinian icon died at his home on Wednesday, two weeks after having surgery on a blood clot in his brain

Covid vaccines: Hope balanced with caution

As Covid vaccines near the manufacturing stage, a look at two polio vaccines provides valuable historical insights

Under cover of Covid, Uganda targets LGBTQ+ shelter

Pandemic rules were used to justify a violent raid on a homeless shelter in Uganda, but a group of victims is pursuing a criminal case against the perpetrators

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…