To beat the ANC, you must not become it - Malema
During EFF leader Julius Malema’s unsurprising attacks on the ANC, this was probably the strongest message he tried to convey to the thousands of supporters that gathered in the Olympia Stadium.
In other words, according to Malema, the EFF cannot beat the ANC by becoming the ANC. And if it means calling out EFF leaders publicly Malema was prepared to do it.
There is a picture going around of an EFF member of the National Council of Provinces, Vusiwana Mtileni, taking a nap in a parliamentary committee meeting, which seems to have ticked Malema off.
So much so that Malema is going to propose docking three months of his salary for sleeping on the job.
“I saw [a] picture of some clown in Parliament claiming to represent the EFF. That member of the EFF in Parliament decided to sleep during a parliamentary session … That member from the EFF, instead of waking people up, he joins them in their sleep,” Malema said.
He said the MP failed in his tasks set out by the EFF. “On Monday I am going to propose to the officials of the EFF, that we must take his three months salary for having slept in Parliament because he slept on duty.”
At first it was baffling why Malema would air party laundry on national television at a time when he should be showing unity and strength. But Malema seemed hell bent: “Comrades, don’t replace a tendency with a tendency.”
No place for corruption in the EFF
This also means if an EFF member is found guilty of corruption he would not be spared the rod.
In the Vaal University of Technology, the EFF Student Representative Committee (SRC) President has been accused by the ANC-aligned Sasco student movement of trying to solicit a bribe from a service provider.
Malema took no prisoners in emphasising that corruption had no place in the EFF.
“I saw the allegations against the president of the VUT SRC and I hope that is not true. Because if you are found guilty of having tried soliciting a bribe from a service provider at VUT, then your days in the EFF are numbered,” Malema said.
He made it clear to everyone who has leadership ambitions in the party that “no corrupt individual found guilty of corruption in parliament, in council shall remain as a member of the EFF”.
Covering corruption in the ANC has become, by their own diagnosis, a catalyst to it losing support and Malema, again, tried to show a distinction between his party and the ANC - even if it meant sacrificing one of their own.
Sight set on metros
In a speech rid with salvoes at the ANC and its leadership, Malema spent a lot of time giving direction for the local government elections that are less than a year away.
The EFF has set eyes on the metros and municipalities where the ANC is on shaky ground, like Johannesburg, but the only way the party can make any in roads in local government elections if it has a solid ground up plan.
So far, Malema said, the party has a presence in 95% of wards across the country and it is set to contest every ward in next year’s local government election.
He has realised that in a political atmosphere where loyalty to the ANC is still strong among voters, the EFF would have to compete on the best possible candidate and not simply loyal party members - a test only time would tell.
“Those who are working hard in communities, they will be councillors,” Malema said.
Once more in his speech, between calling President Jacob Zuma a man who lacks legitimacy and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa a criminal, Malema’s ire was raised against the EFF’s own.
Two members of the EFF’s national leadership structure, the central command team (CCT) was purposely not introduced to the party supporters on Saturday because they were not part of the hard work mobilising communities for the rally.
These two leaders, Malema said, waltzed in on the day of the rally “like celebrities”.
“This is not an organisation of celebrities,” Malema told them.
Malema is determined to prove detractors wrong that the EFF was a party of cult personalities. He is unrepentant about the split that took place in his party after it had elected national leaders last December that led to the expulsion of the party’s national co-ordinator Mpho Ramakatsa and three other EFF MPs.
“It was a necessary process. We wanted to see if the EFF can pass the test and we passed it. Unlike Cope,” he said.
Malema added that those who have left the party with Ramakatsa were “welcome back home after they take medication to calm their madness”.