The Economic Freedom Fighters have dissolved all of their Limpopo provincial leadership structures because of the party’s poor performance in the province during the local government elections last November.
The decision was taken by the party’s national command council after a four-day national leadership plenary at which it analysed its election performance and inducted the more than 1 000 councillors who were elected in the local government poll.
The party increased its slice of the vote from 8% in 2016 to 10.3% in 2021, with its number of councillors growing from 826 to 1 066.
At a media briefing on Tuesday, EFF leader Julius Malema said that although the party’s performance overall had been “formidable”, it “took exception” to the electoral slide in Limpopo, where it lost 25 council seats and thousands of votes.
As a result, the party had decided to disband the Limpopo command teams at branch, regional and provincial level and had appointed a team of national leaders, led by MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, to oversee the process of rebuilding structures.
This team would appoint acting regional and provincial leadership to work towards holding regional and provincial assemblies later this year at which new leaders would be elected.
Malema said that disbanding underperforming structures in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape after the 2018 national elections had paid off, with the EFF making progress in both provinces last November.
In KwaZulu-Natal this had seen the party secure joint control of a number of municipalities through an agreement with the Inkatha Freedom Party.
Had a similar approach been adopted with Limpopo, the province would have performed better, he said.
Malema said the EFF would hold assemblies in all provinces during the year to prepare for the coming national and provincial elections.
The party would also launch a recruitment drive aimed at achieving the target of one million members by the end of 2022, with provinces, regions and branches being set specific targets.
Those who failed to achieve their recruitment targets would face “serious consequences” because “we are not going to be patient with EFF structures that do not produce satisfactory results”.
Malema said the party’s programme of visiting restaurants and bars to check on the number of foreigners they employed would continue and would be broadened to include the security industry and farms.
Malema said the visits were aimed at ensuring a “balance” between the number of locals and foreigners so that neither group was “excluded” from job opportunities in the hospitality and other sectors.
He and other EFF leaders had spoken to the white owners of the establishments during the visits and not the workers, who “did not employ themselves”.
“No Zimbabwean will be chased away. We strive for a balance. We will go to the owners. There is no Nigerian we are going to talk to … no Zimbabwean we are going to talk to. No South African must be excluded, no foreigner must be excluded. People must work together,” Malema said.
Out of three establishments he had visited, one employed about equal numbers of locals and foreigners, while the others employed a majority of South African staff.
“Perhaps here we might be dealing with some imaginary problem. We will find out from the outcomes of this campaign if we have a problem like that in the hospitality industry,” Malema said.
He said the EFF would be “going to the farms as well” because foreign workers who had entered the country illegally were being employed and exploited by farmers who had them arrested to avoid paying them.
The EFF leader also announced that he would make an oversight visit in his capacity as an MP to the private airport terminal at the OR Tambo International Airport owned by the Oppenheimer family.
Malema said he was “not scared” of the Oppenheimers, who he said were funding both the ruling ANC and the main opposition Democratic Alliance, and might be using the terminal to move money and minerals in and out of the country illicitly.