Mpofu vs Malema? All you need to know about the EFF's December conference

28 October 2019 - 16:49 By ZINGISA MVUMVU
EFF deputy Floyd Shivambu, EFF leader Julius Malema, EFF national chairperson Dali Mpofu and EFF secretary general Godrich Gardee at the EFF's fourth anniversary celebration in Curries Fountain.
EFF deputy Floyd Shivambu, EFF leader Julius Malema, EFF national chairperson Dali Mpofu and EFF secretary general Godrich Gardee at the EFF's fourth anniversary celebration in Curries Fountain.

The EFF leadership on Monday took journalists on a tour of the Nasrec Expo Centre in Johannesburg, where the third-largest political party in South Africa will elect new leaders in December.

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Julius Malema and the rest of his party's top six also fielded questions. Here is what you need to know about the conference, billed for December 13-16:

Who is the running for leadership positions?

The EFF's top leadership avoided saying if they would be available to contest for positions. Malema perhaps gave the clearest indication that he would be contesting for a second term in the top position as president, saying he did not have the skill set required for other positions in the party, such as secretary-general and treasurer-general.

With speculation mounting that Dali Mpofu is gearing up to contest Malema for the top job, Mpofu refused to answer when that was put to him. "Those questions will be answered in front of the whole country and nomination will be open to the media," he said.

Recent reports by Sunday World revealed that Mpofu's current position of national chairperson had been identified for MP Veronica Mente.

A video clip of EFF Mpumalanga provincial chairman Collen Sedibe confirmed this. Sedibe gave himself a pat on the back for raising the name of Mente to replace Mpofu.

It is believed that the party's secretary-general, Godrich Gardee, will be replaced by Marshall Dlamini. His deputy Hlengiwe Mkhaliphi is also set to be replaced.

Deputy president Floyd Shivambu, however, is expected to return to his position without contest.

Malema said all positions were open to be contested.

Who is going to attend - and who can vote?

About 4,500 voting delegates are expected to descend on Nasrec from all corners of the country. They will include all members of the party's national central command team, members of provincial command teams, as well as regional command teams, said Malema.

Only the 4,500 delegates will be allowed to vote and participate in the closed sessions.

All embassies in the country have been invited to become non-voting guests at the conference. The EFF's "sister parties" across the continent have also been invited.

Special guests who may be allowed to make some remarks during the conference, albeit without the right to vote, include Kenyan intellectual Prof PLO Lumumba and the recently fired African Union ambassador to the US, Dr Arikana Chihombori-Quao, said Shivambu.

Business people from several major companies have also been invited as guests to buy stalls and display their products outside the conference venue.

Who will preside over the election process?

The Institute of Election Management Services in Africa (IEMSA), owned by former deputy IEC chair Terry Tselane, has been procured to control the election process.

Malema said they had decided to give the nod to Tselane's company because it was a new entrant to the space.

Who is bankrolling the conference?

Malema said the party had paid for everything, including the conference venue and accommodation of delegates.

"The conference itself is covered, so we are not raising money for the purposes of funding it," said Malema.

Where will delegates stay?

Tsogo Sun has scored the EFF tender to find accommodation for the 4,500 delegates at hotels in and around Johannesburg.

Guesthouses and bed-and-breakfast spots in Soweto, the closest township to the conference venue, are set to lose out.

Malema explained why: "Tsogo Sun is the one that is going to identify hotels. But let me also make this point very clear: Tsogo Sun will identify hotels because we want as many delegates as possible in one hotel, so that we do not have a logistical nightmare, especially with transport. So if they find beds in Sandton, it is not us, the EFF; it is Tsogo Sun."

He said accommodation venues in Soweto would be unable to house more than 50 delegates at the same venue, which is what the EFF was targeting to ensure they spread their security personnel and buses accordingly.

What will be up for discussion?

There will be a total of eight commissions that will break away to tackle specific policy issues, such as land, education, health and international relations.

At the centre of the policy discussions, said Malema, would be the question: how do we build socialism?

Also up for discussion are proposals to amend the party's constitution, which may include reducing or expanding the top leadership structure and the creation of a women's command.

Malema added that the EFF's seven "cardinal pillars" would not be up for discussion.