As the new kid on the block, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) have been getting a lot of press—good and bad- fighting to become a recognised society at Wits. Roxanne Joseph spoke to Mbe Mbhele, the coordinator of Wits EFF, and asked him…
What are your thoughts on a possible coalition between the Democratic Alliance (DA) and the EFF?
I don’t think it’s possible, because the DA fundamentally stands opposed to everything the EFF stands for. As Julius Malema said, “the EFF has only one objective in these elections, and that is to win.”
Are you a recognised society yet?
We are now a recognised society on campus. We applied and the SRC approved our application a week or two ago. SRC president Shafee Verachia stated we are now an official society at Wits.
What do you think of the SRC’s initial reaction to the EFF’s application?
The SRC stated they would not allow us to be a recognised society. They were hostile towards us and still are because we threaten the same constituency that they represent.
In the upcoming SRC elections, are you going to put candidates forward and what’s your plan in doing so?
Our conditions on the ground will determine whether or not we have EFF people in the elections. I don’t see a reason why not, though. We are for the advancement of students and in order to achieve the objectives we want to achieve, such as free and quality education for all, we need to operate within the structures [at Wits].
What do you think your presence has been like on campus and what are your plans for the next two weeks, in the run up to the elections on May 7?
We’ve been doing a lot of door-doors. Each and every conversation that we have involves campaigning and canvassing to vote for the EFF. There is a possibility that national leadership, like Floyd [Shivambu, EFF Commissar and Chief of Staff] will join us in our visits and on campus.
Does the PYA still have a presence on campus?
I think it’s unfair to speak of them, as we are focused on our own objectives, but I have not seen the PYA on campus this year. We, on the other hand, have been present and achieved things for students. For example, we opened up applications for all clubs and societies who were also denied recognition.
Do you think that will get you more votes?
Look, the response has been overwhelming. You walk around campus in your red beret and people come up to you, they want to know what the EFF is all about. We will get a lot of votes from students, as a microcosm of society.
Sell the EFF to students and young voters out there.
The EFF recognises that before we are students, we are members of communities. We are only in university for four years, but then we go out and get jobs in the real world. We need to be active participants in the economy, so our presence is not just within the borders of university. We stand for free and quality education for all, which directly relates to all students. The price of education is being commodified and students cannot afford a decent meal in the Matrix because it is outsourced. There are many issues we want to deal with on campus.