EFF snub politician awards, Malema says ‘Politicians are not celebrities’

24 January 2017 - 15:14 By Matthew Savides

He is arguably the biggest name in South African politics‚ but Julius Malema will not be on any ballot papers at the South African Politician Awards.

Neither will the “People’s Bae” Mbuyiseni Ndlozi. In fact‚ despite the party being king-makers in the Johannesburg and Tshwane metros‚ the EFF is not among the nominees for “Best Political Party of the Year” at the first SAPAs‚ which take place next month.

Jacob Zuma‚ however‚ will be on the ballot paper. Despite ongoing criticism of Number One‚ he is being considered for “Politician of the Year”.

There’s a good reason for the EFF’s exclusion‚ Malema told TMGDigital on Tuesday: they are boycotting the awards entirely.

The DA’s John Steenhuisen‚ Bantu Holomisa of the UDM‚ Cope’s Terror Lekota and the ANC’s Buti Manamela are the four MPs considered for “Best Parliamentarian”. For the top honour – “South African Politician of the Year” – Zuma will be up against Mmusi Maimane (DA)‚ Mangosutho Buthelezi (IFP)‚ Holomisa and Eastern Cape agriculture MEC Mlibo Qoboshiyane (ANC).

“They contacted us‚” said Malema. “But we told them we can't be involved in this. Politicians must not be awarded for doing their jobs.”

The SAPAs are taking place on February 8 at Cape Town’s Cape Sun Hotel. The event‚ according to organisers‚ is already sold out. About 250 people – at R500 a head for members of the public – are expected to attend.

“Politicians are not celebrities. Awards must be given to someone who brings a special talent. This is all about personal glorification‚” said Malema.

He said politicians must do what they do voluntarily “with no expectation of getting any award”.

“We don’t believe in [these awards]. We really can’t participate‚” said Malema.

Organisers said the awards were not endorsed by any individual parties‚ but that “Parliament supports this unique initiative”.

"The mission of the awards is to recognise the outstanding political leaders‚ municipalities‚ [and] political parties' hard work and commitment within South African politics. There is a unique opportunity to celebrate industry excellence‚" organisers said.

– TMG Digital/The Times