/ 14 June 2024

We will be unplugging the EFF everywhere, says ANC Gauteng PEC member

Nkululeko Dunga
The tension between the ANC and EFF stems from the decision by Ekurhuleni mayor Nkosindiphile Xhakaza to remove the EFF’s Nkululeko Dunga as member of the mayoral committee (MMC) for finance and replace him with ANC finance MMC Jongizizwe Dlabathi. (Twitter/EFF)

The ANC will forge ahead with ending its working relationship with Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) in all municipalities, sources in the party’s Gauteng provincial executive committee have said.

They spoke to the Mail & Guardian after the first sitting of the provincial legislature where ANC Gauteng chairperson Panyaza Lesufi was elected unopposed for a second term as premier.

On Wednesday night, Ekurhuleni mayor Nkosindiphile Xhakaza removed the EFF’s Nkululeko Dunga as member of the mayoral committee (MMC) for finance, while in eThekwini the ANC recalled Mxolisi Kaunda as mayor.

EFF leader Julius Malema has since threatened the mass resignation of the party’s MMCs should Dunga not be reinstated, but the ANC appears to be undeterred in its intent to remove the Red Berets from key positions in metros.

The recall is likely to affect Ekurhuleni and Johannesburg in Gauteng and eThekwini in KwaZulu-Natal.

Lesufi’s nomination was seconded by the Democratic Alliance in what looks to be part of the agreement between the ANC, the DA the Inkatha Freedom Party and the Patriotic Alliance at provincial level.

ANC member of the provincial legislature (MPL) Morakane Mosupyoe was elected unopposed as speaker, with her nomination surprisingly being seconded by the uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) party.

DA MPL Refiloe Nt’sekhe was also elected unopposed as the deputy speaker after being nominated by the ANC’s Mzi Khumalo.

There have been suggestions that the agreement between the DA, ANC and other government of national unity parties will filter down to all the hung municipalities in Gauteng and the removal of Dunga appears to be in line with this.

On Thursday, the coalition in Johannesburg between the ANC, EFF, African Transformation Movement, the African Independent Congress and other small parties failed to pass a budget. The EFF did not arrive for the vote in an apparent pushback against Dunga’s removal.

A source in the ANC provincial executive committee said the relationship between the party and the EFF was over in all municipalities.

“It’s done, chief. We will be removing them everywhere. Julius was demanding to be deputy president and the speaker to work with us. He wants to have the blue light for life. We are unplugging them everywhere; they are no more the kingmakers,” they said.

The source added that the ANC would work with every party — including former president Jacob Zuma’s MK party — but not the EFF.

“We will work with everyone, not just the DA. That is why even the MK party seconded the nomination of the ANC speaker. The only party that doesn’t want to work with us is EFF,” they said, adding that although the ANC would not mind working with MK in Gauteng municipalities, it was still considering whether to do so at provincial level.

“The problem with MK is national because of Jacob Zuma. He wants us to remove our entire leadership and we can’t do that,” the source said.

But responding to questions during a media briefing after the sitting at the provincial legislature, ANC Gauteng spokesperson Lesego Makhubele said the party did not have a resolution in place about ending its relationship with the EFF. 

Makhubele said the ANC worked very well with the EFF everywhere else except Ekurhuleni, where there were problems.

“There were challenges with the working relationship with the mayor and the MMC for finance, which have to do with the functioning municipality, but that did not mean that general break in relationship between us and the EFF,” Makhubele said.

“The working relationship in the Johannesburg municipality, there are no issues and there are no tensions. We are working well in Tshwane where we are the opposition.”

Lesufi said the ANC was “not in a hurry to create problems” or to “hunt for differences” but was “in a hurry to resolve challenges of Gauteng residents”.

“Any political party that wants to work with us, we are more than willing to work with them,” he said.