EFF's younger top six reliable - Ndlozi
The EFF's newly elected top six is without two former leaders, Dali Mpofu and Godrich Gardee, who have one thing in common - they are both over the age of 50.
The red berets' new leadership, elected at the party's four-day national people's assembly in Nasrec, south of Johannesburg, at the weekend, has an average age of 40.
Mpofu, 57, who contested against Floyd Shivambu for the deputy president position, did not meet the required threshold to stand, while Gardee, 51, declined a nomination for re-election as secretary-general.
Party leader Julius Malema, 38, who was re-elected as the commander-in-chief, won big after the almost 4,000 delegates elected his preferred crop of leaders in the top six.
Floyd Shivambu, 36, was re-elected as deputy president, while Omphile Maotwe was elected treasurer-general, Veronica Mente as national chairperson, Marshall Dlamini as secretary-general and Poppy Mailola as deputy secretary-general.
The obvious question had to be about age. Did former party chairperson Mpofu and former secretary-general Gardee lose out because of their ages? Party spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said this wasn't the case.
Ndlozi said the election of the new, younger top six, had nothing to do with their age, but their reliability and ability to visit all branches.
“It has nothing to do with age, it has everything to do with the fact that these comrades have demonstrated incredible reliability, but also commitment to the organisation and have proven themselves capable to preside over complex projects. You don't have to babysit them,” Ndlozi said.
The party's chairperson in Gauteng, Mandisa Mashego, said there were older people in the 40-strong central command team, who included Makoti Khawula.
“It reflects more on the societal demographic picture, because the average age of the population is coming down, especially in the rest of Africa,” Mashego said.
“I think sometimes we shouldn't be that sensitive and look to ageism because it goes both ways. It's not discrimination against young people, it's not discrimination against old, it's discrimination on the basis of age ... so I wouldn't read too much into it.”
Malema said Gardee would head a unit tasked with co-ordinating EFF structures in Africa.
“Godrich Gardee is now head of international relations full-time in the EFF office,” Malema said.
“He must co-ordinate the formation of EFF structures in the continent and make sure that the EFF has got relationships all over the world with progressive forces and create relations with progressive structures in the diaspora. He has accepted [that].”