Malema 'fighters' jump ship

26 September 2013 - 08:57 By Penwell Dlamini
Julius Malema at the Hector Peterson museum. File photo.
Julius Malema at the Hector Peterson museum. File photo.
Image: Foto24 / Mary-Ann Palmer/ Gallo Images

Julius Malema's Economic Freedom Fighters political party suffered its first major bout of defection yesterday when about 15 regional leaders and 10 sub-regional leaders in Gauteng joined Agang.

The defectors included provincial coordinator of the EFF in Gauteng, Nozipho Poswayo, and provincial convener Pule Matshitse.

The EFF was formed by the expelled ANC Youth League leaders earlier this year and has registered to contest next year's general election.

The party has adopted numerous radical policies, such as the expropriation of land without compensation and the nationalisation of key sectors of the economy.

At a press briefing in Braamfontein, Johannesburg, yesterday, Poswayo and Matshitse were reluctant to elaborate on why they left EFF , saying they did not want to "dwell on the past". But Poswayo described the EFF as militant, with a radical approach.

"The radical approach of the EFF was not on. When you look at expropriation of land without compensation, what are we saying? Are [we] waging war? Is South Africa not having a constitution?

"When you talk about nationalising the key strategic sectors of the economy, what are we saying? Because we need investment in South Africa," Poswayo said.

"Our departure from EFF was very clear and simple.

"We felt that the policies of that particular organisation do not speak to us," she said.

Poswayo said there were questions that could not be answered during the EFF dialogues that preceded the sitting of its national assembly. She said some things just "never made sense".

Agang SA's political director, Moeketsi Masola, welcomed the new members and said they would be expected to work hard and would progress on merit like other party members.

EFF spokesman Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said: "It must be noted that members who have left do not constitute even 1% of the members that EFF has in Gauteng.

"We are aware that many of them defected because they were promised payments for the work they will do in Agang SA.

"This means they were bought by Dr Mamphela Ramphele with the money she got from the sweat and blood of mineworkers," said Ndlozi, citing the "fortunes" Ramphele has made from owning "shares from mining companies".

He said many members of other organisations had defected to the EFF but the party had declined to make a show of it.

"Indeed, many people will from time to time, particularly in a democratic society, move from party to party.

"Thus, we wish all those who left farewell," Ndlozi said.