EFF is a cult, ANC is a mishmash: Tony Leon

23 April 2019 - 17:10 By ZINGISA MVUMVU
Former DA leader Tony Leon was on the campaign trail in Eldorado Park, south of Johannesburg, on April 23 2019.
Former DA leader Tony Leon was on the campaign trail in Eldorado Park, south of Johannesburg, on April 23 2019.
Image: Sebabatso Mosamo/Sunday Times

Former DA leader Tony Leon has come out guns blazing against the ANC and the EFF, accusing the former of being a "mishmash" while calling the latter "a cult".

Leon was on an election campaign charm offensive in Eldorado Park and Glenhazel, where he said the DA was the only party with a plan to move South Africa forward.

According to him, the EFF was "not a political party" but rather a cult movement run by its leader, Julius Malema.

This was while the ANC, he said, was a mishmash with a few "good" individuals - such as president Cyril Ramaphosa - surrounded by rogues.

Leon said although the DA was not perfect, he believed that the "team" led by Mmusi Maimane had a plan to steer the country out of the doldrums towards an economic growth path.

"You have got to have more than one club in your golf bag and you cannot play football without 11 men or women but with the ANC you have one and that is Cyril Ramaphosa and I have known him for a long time... intelligent, competent and good track record in some parts," said Leon.

"But take him away, what you are left with you do not even want to look at. In the DA, you have Maimane, good leader who delivered us Johannesburg and Pretoria in the last election and you have a team that you can put forward with pride."

Leon, who has been out of active politics for exactly a decade, said he came back to the political spotlight now because the DA asked him "to help" in their last push campaign of the two weeks ahead of the May 8 elections.

He believes that "everything was perfect in the DA when I was a leader and then started to be less perfect when I left" adding that his successors had made mistakes but lauded Helen Zille and Maimane for growing DA support.

Leon said a strong opposition overall was the best way to reduce ANC power but he was concerned about the EFF "dipping in and out" of the coalition government partnerships in metros such as Tshwane and Johannesburg. "Look at what they did to us in Port Elizabeth," he said. 

In fact, Leon said he had specific views on the EFF: "I have very strong views against the EFF and they are well-known and I have written about them so what the DA decides to do with its future relationship with them is up to the party to decide.

"The DA has a depth of talent and that certainly includes leader Mmusi Maimane, but it is not a one-man show, but frankly, Julius Malema runs a cult rather than a political party and that is not my view - it is what two of his dissenting departing party MPs have said. At least with Mmusi I'm sure he does account for the money that the party spends," he said.

Leon said voters have a better chance of "getting value for your buck" when voting for the DA rather than the ANC and EFF. 

He said the ANC had collapsed Eskom due to corruption, mismanagement and incompetence, and "ransacking the state".  

"There is the ANC mishmash... it is a bit of this and a bit of that all mashed together in a mix-up. There is no direction, theme or clarity and indication that would take the progress of this country and make it realise the five percent economic growth," said Leon.

"The sad thing about Cyril is that he does not control his own party by his own admission, his boss is Ace Magashule, but I have no doubt that Cyril would not like to have some of these crooks, criminals and thieves on his list but he cannot do much about it because he is probably in charge of only 50% of the ANC."