A recent meeting between Julius Malema and his party’s supporters in Gauteng ended with the supporters throwing bottles at his car, and his security allegedly responding with live rounds according to Times LIVE.
Mphahlele Phasoane Mpho told the Times LIVE that after the meeting some members of the EFF started calling Malema a sellout. Malema’s car set off, and did a U-turn.
His guards then allegedly exited the vehicle with Malema, and started beating up party supporters, there was a gunshot and the crowd dispersed.
It was only then that the supporters rallied and started throwing bottles. Malema’s guards left, and a minibus full of more security showed up – which then proceeded to beat up more EFF supporters. More gunshots rang out.
So why did this all happen?
The Citizen reports that the whole issue started with a dispute over whether Abednego Mathole could stand for election.
Mathole essentially represented a faction of the EFF that was fed-up with the party’s behaviour in Gauteng.
According to News24, the Guateng EFF’s leadership is a bit shaky. The party’s regional command team in Guateng is being accused of being more concerned about keeping their seats than growing the party.
In May this faction led a march on the party to hand over a memorandum of complaints. Malema responded that doing so was defying their way out of the party.
In July The Citizen reported that EFF secretary-general Godrich Gardee had been accused of punching and slapping University of Johannesburg (UJ) BA student Tshepo Goba.
Goba said that they were trying to calm Gardee down when he attacked. A witness, Vusi Sowazi, reportedly confirmed the incident, saying that they had to restrain Gardee because the EFF leader thought Goba was Mathole.
Malema later claimed that it was Mathole who attacked Gardee, a charge which Mathole denies.
Anyway because of all of this, Mathole was expelled from the party – but still represents a constituency within it who feel his treatment was unfair.
I don’t for one second believe Malema on the claim that Mathole assaulted Gardee – particularly given that the original story involved Gardee attacking completely the wrong person.
It is a bit difficult to argue that Mathole is the guilty party in that case.
In May News24 reported that then EFF MPL Ayanda Shabalala resigned from the party over how it talked big on feminism, but was lacking when it came to action.
Her statement that the EFF’s leadership does not in fact take sexual harassment or the assault of female party members seriously was corroborated by another report in the City Press just this August.
This was not her only issue however.
She also claimed that Gardee was harassing EFF members in the Mpumalanga legislature and demanding funds from their coffers – on threat of being recalled.
“In my case, the EFF can keep its seat in the legislature, and are at liberty to give it someone more inclined to take verbal abuse and harassment, just because you are deployed by the party,” Shabalala told News24.
The EFF so far is pretty much COPE’s evil twin so far as parties go. COPE was founded on a vision of strict non-racism, the EFF are founded on a vision of racist xenophobia. The EFF considers any immigrant population to basically not be citizens as can be seen by their treatment of Ismail Momoniat.
COPE doesn’t want retribution for the past, the EFF is all about retribution for the past. Cope’s leader left the ANC because he couldn’t in good conscience support a crook like Jacob Zuma, the EFF’s leader had to be thrown out after he tried to start a war with Botswana.
COPE lacks a clear vision, the EFF are all about essentially nationalising the economy.
COPE was too loose in its organisation to reach its first election without major infighting, the EFF meanwhile is highly rigidly set up to prevent infighting by expelling dissidents.
And this is part of how sexual harassment within the EFF is a growing issue. It is the same with any organisation, the greater the disparity between those who have power, and those who don’t the greater the risk of this sort of thing happening, because what you end up with is a situation where those with power promote abusers because they can be more easily silenced about abuses of power.
It is the same thing that the Guptas pulled with Zuma. It is no surprise that the most compromised people in the ANC’s leadership right now tend to be the Zuma faction – this is because integrity is a threat to power, and those who hold power thus may talk a fair game but when you look at their behaviour what gets promoted is loyalty, not honesty.
So I look at this situation in Gauteng, and I see an organisation that invites corruption and abuse due to how its power imbalances between members and leaders work.
That said, I’m not complaining. If this weakens the EFF there is less risk of us ending up with them in charge.