In a press conference on a number of mostly unrelated topics held on Thursday at the party headquarters in Johannesburg, Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema shed light into the strategies, tactics and thought processes that has led the EFF to make some of the controversial decisions they do.
One such example is their approaching of the Constitutional Court as a means to get President Jacob Zuma to “pay back the money”. Malema noted that the constitutional court bid to have it rule on the powers of the public protector did not emerge out of no where.
It was clearly orchestrated at a time when Zuma could not take public protector Thuli Madonsela’s Nkandla report on judicial review.
Zuma had six months after the release of the report to review Madonsela’s report through the courts.
“We pushed him through that process of Parliament and the political programme to ensure that he is out of the court review [period] and then [we] brought the court application. It was a calculated move. It was not a coincidence. You keep him busy there, so that he forgets the court review period, when he is done with that period, you go to court and say he must comply,” Malema said.
The Constitutional Court has agreed to hear the EFF’s case regarding the Nkandla report and the powers of the public protector in February next year.
It has now emerged that Madonsela has requested to be part of the EFF’s application. Malema continued to explain the EFF’s strategy in the National Assembly where the party has of late objected to all motions proposed by all political parties, even those of condolences.
“Objections to motions will never stop. That is a protest. We are protesting. When you protest you use all means necessary to draw attention to your protest but also to ensure that you offend the enemy,” Malema said.
He noted that this was a form of protest against a rule adopted by the National Assembly to have MPs physically removed from the House.
“We are protesting because those people passed a rule forcing members of Parliament to be removed from the assembly. We are being assaulted,” he said
March against white monopoly capital
Malema used the press conference to announce that the party would be leading a protest march against the financial sector and white monopoly capital on October 27. The march is expected to start in the Johannesburg CBD and continue to the Chamber of Mines, the reserve Bank and the JSE.
It is reminiscent of a march Malema led in 2011 while he was still ANCYL president.
Malema admitted that this march was to protect the legacy of the march for economic freedom, which he pursued in 2011 and was the longest march in the history of this country. It began in Johannesburg and culminated in Pretoria.
But before that march, the party would join in on the march against corruption led by former Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi. Malema noted that they would mobilise their structures to join in on their march because “anyone who fights corruption is our friend”.
He revealed that the party still stood by its call for Vavi, Amcu President Joseph Mathunjwa and Numsa President Irvin Jim to form an independent trade union federation.
Malema said the EFF could not form a trade union because it did not have the expertise to do that. “We don’t know anything about trade unions. What we know is politics,” he said.
In terms of politics, the party is planning to finalise its guidelines and plans for the local government elections by the end of the month. It hopes to come up with ideas on how to elect ward and PR councillors for next year’s local government elections. The EFF, interestingly, would not put up mayoral candidates in metros it hopes it could win – unlike the DA.
Malema said they want to avoid personality cults in the party of people who believe they are bigger than the organisation. This is the same line taken by the ANC.
However, the EFF said they were resolute not to impose mayors or councillors on EFF members as done in the ANC. The ANC imposed soccer boss Danny Jordaan as mayor in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro much to the dissatisfaction of long serving ANC members.
Malema said he would not accept mayors of councillors from other political parties on any precondition that they be installed as mayors or councillors under the EFF. “We don’t want ANC councillors coming here for positions. You want to join us, then join your branch … not the head office of the party,” he said.
It appears that EFF is committed to a bottom up approach where branches are a deciding factor in decision making – a commitment that can only be tested with time. For now, Malema is determined in developing second and third levels of leadership in the party so that it has a strong leadership collective if has to ever leave the party. This is reflected on their commitment to create strong youth chapters of the party on campuses.
The EFF Student Command has made some inroads in the Tshwane University of Technology, North West University and the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.