Government and the ANC-alliance must take a firm stand against “hooligan” and “neo-fascist” Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), the South African Communist Party (SACP) said on Sunday.
“We have to counter very firmly this proto-fascist anarchic behavior and we hope the media also will see the light and stop calling this anarchy robustness,” the party’s general secretary, Blade Nzimande, said at a press briefing.
He was speaking after the conclusion of the SACP central committee’s first quarterly plenary session in Johannesburg. The session addressed “disunity” within Cosatu; “energy challenges”, and the “transformational responsibilities of [Cosatu] affiliates in the sectors in which they organise” among other things.
“We support what happened during the State of Nation Address. If the EFF repeats that [then] as far as we are concerned they must be chucked out like what happened last time,” Nzimande said.
On instruction from national speaker Balete Mbete, parliamentary service officers forcibly removed EFF members from Parliament during the State of the Nation Address in February. The EFF had disrupted President Jacob Zuma’s address by demanding to know when Zuma is going to pay back the money towards the costs of security upgrades at his homestead in Nkandla, deemed by the Public Protector to have unfairly benefited him and his family.
Nzimande said this behavior was not in the “interest of development of our country”.
“…as the communist party working with our allies we must be on the ground to mobilise continuously [and] work with our communities to be able to isolate and defeat this anarchy and neo-fascist behavior.”
He said behavior like this was “cheap populism that’s not going to take us anywhere”.
The Mail & Guardian was not able to reach the EFF for comment at the time of publishing.
EFF ‘undermines workings of Parliament’
The party’s first deputy general secretary, Jeremy Cronin, also criticised the EFF, referring to them as, “certain elements that wear gumboots and hard hats and so forth in Parliament”.
“The democratic space of Parliament is actually extremely important … It has two critical areas of importance … It’s a space in which the executive needs to account for how its spending … taxpayers money. But the second important role of Parliament is for a democratic majority to be able to implement in legislation and in policy development the mandate that its got from the majority of South Africans,” he said.
The EFF, he said, “undermined and hobbled the workings of Parliament”.
He said the EFF is “disrupting the procedures of Parliament for their own theatrical purposes and in fact the previous occasion where there was serious disruption was [when] … the president was being asked questions and a United Democratic Front member was prevented from asking a follow up question by the disruption”.
“I’m not suggesting like some stupid amateurish intelligent, or not intelligent [people are]… that Malema is some imperialist agent but unwittingly, this kind of behavior does undermine democratic sovereignty in South Africa.