The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) will not discuss its security in “full view” of its “enemies”, party leader Julius Malema told the media on Sunday.
During a press briefing on the third day of the EFF’s 2019 policy and elective conference, Malema refused to answer questions relating to the party’s security arrangements.
Malema, who was re-elected as EFF president unopposed, fielded questions relating to the party’s security after an incident involving a member of the so-called Defenders of the Revolution (DOR), who pepper sprayed a group of delegates outside the dining hall late on Saturday night. The aftermath of the incident was caught on camera and shared on social media.
The Mail & Guardian directed a question to newly elected secretary general Marshall Dlamini — who is also the head of the EFF’s security department — about the vetting and training of the DOR.
But Malema rebuffed any questions about the unit, saying a discussion about the EFF’s security with the media “will never happen”.
“You come into my house and want to question my security and you want me to share with you how I lead my house. It’s not going to happen,” he said.
The party’s organisational report describes the DOR as an integral strategic arm of the party’s security department. Members of the unit have been present at various gatherings of the party including rallies, meetings and other party activities. The report notes that some members of the organisation have experience in military and security services.
“The unit has discharged its tasks as a matter of a labour of love as opposed to remuneration,” the report says.
Earlier in the day, while fielding questions from the party’s 4000 delegates, Malema warned attendees that they should refrain from discussing EFF security matters in the presence of “agents of the enemy”.
Malema said: “Never allow a situation in the presence of agents of the enemy to discuss security, how you secure yourself. I asked you earlier on and you are continuing. You are getting excited and you are being emotional.”
Malema made this warning after he apologised to delegates for an incident the member of the DOR, calling him a “rascal”. He said the alleged assailant had been relieved of his duties.
But during a plenary discussion, delegates raised concerns about security from the floor.
“You are giving them room for infiltration,” Malema said, seemingly referring to members of the media.
“We are where we are because we had to take the measures we took. We have secured this meeting. The enemy is not happy at all. The enemy is not happy.”
Malema pointed out that political analyst Khaya Sithole had been sitting in the plenary. The EFF leader accused Sithole of sleeping during the session. “He is going to do political analysis of this conference from sleeping. He wakes up straight to comment about this conference.”
He further accused delegates of wanting to “please the enemy” by openly talking about security issues.
“The enemy knows how the security of the EFF gets to be organised. It is easy now to infiltrate them. We came and apologised to you,” Malema said.
“What is the meaning of apology to you? What is the meaning of apology to you if it means nothing? The president said sorry, the matter was supposed to be closed.”
Malema reiterated that the leadership is dealing with the “isolated” incident involving the DOR.