The Wits Great Debate is a series of four debates happening in the run-up to the national elections. Graphic: Wits Communications.
This week’s Great Debate will feature Fikile Mbalula (ANC) vs Mbali Ntuli (DA) vs Floyd Shivambu (EFF).
The debate takes place in the Wits Great Hall, Thursday, March 17 at 8pm.
Wits Vuvuzela has been advised that no more tickets are available for the event.
Visit the Wits University site for more detailed information.
By Thuletho Zwane and Ray Mahlaka
JULIUS Malema’s new political party is targeting Wits to gain more supporters.
Witsie and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) executive member, Innocent Thombothi, Political Science and International Relations Honours, said that Witsies were showing interest in the EFF.
“We do have supporters on campus. Most [of them] are people in the SRC, ANCYL and the YCL [Young Communist League], and members of the PYA [Progressive Youth Alliance],” Thombothi said.
He said it was difficult for “comrades” to come out and admit they were members or supporters of the EFF because they still had to serve their elected official terms in their respective organisations.
“They are still deployed in the PYA. There’s a conflict of interest. Maybe after the PYA elections [in August]. Most can’t disclose now. EFF is here, it is in Wits,” Thombothi said.
The EFF is a “radical and militant” political movement founded by former ANC Youth League President Malema.
It is a leftist movement whose policies include land expropriation without compensation, nationalisation of the banks and national resources, free education and health and opening South African borders to Africans.
[pullquote]”We do have supporters on campus. Most [of them] are people in the SRC, ANCYL and the YCL [Young Communist League], and members of the PYA [Progressive Youth Alliance]” [/pullquote] SRC treasurer, Justice Nkomo, however, said the EFF had no support at Wits. He said the EFF was holding an event at Wits but had to cancel it because most Witsies attended a talk by ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe.
“They wanted to infiltrate. If EFF was strong, they would be able to influence our own people,” Nkomo said.
“Those people who have crossed have always been politically irrelevant.”
Trevor Mkhawana, 2nd year Mining Engineering, said he knew a lot of people who support the EFF. “They believe in Malema. They got disillusioned by Zuma.”
Witsie Mabhoko Mojela said if the EFF won the 2014 elections, SA would turn into a banana republic.
“[But], the presence of Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, [EFF spokesperson] allows me to give EFF the benefit of the doubt. I trust his intellectual opinions and the good work he has done in the student organisations on campus.”
Puleng Tsehla, 2nd year Media Studies, from Lesotho, said she supports the EFF because the new party promotes open boundaries in Africa.
She said South Africans are always welcome in other African countries.
Other Witsies in the EFF include Floyd Shivambu who is studying his MA in political studies, Andile Mngxitama who has completed an MA in sociology and Ndlozi, a PhD politics candidate.
Just EFF’ing around? July 19, 2013
UJ says no to EFF July 29, 2013
[VIDEO] Do Witsies know the EFF? July 19, 2013
Wits Vuvuzela reporters Ray Mahlaka and Thuletho Zwane attended the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) conference from this Friday night to Saturday. The conference happened in Soweto and drew a significant crowd.
By THULETHO ZWANE and RAY MAHLAKA
IN HIS first print interview, newly appointed Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi has defended the new movement’s founding members from accusations of being “tenderpreneurs” and “dodgy characters”.
Ndlozi, a politics PhD candidate, has defended his new organisation’s leadership against the criticism laid by his former comrades in the Wits ANC Youth League (ANCYL).
Wits SRC vice president Tokelo Nhlapo accused EFF members of having wrongly benefitted from tenders.
“The discomfort that we have is the characters in the EFF where they have benefitted from these things [tenders].”
Ndlozi defended EFF and said the new movement wants the government tendering system to be stopped.
He admits that while EFF founding member Julius Malema was a “tenderpreneur”, Malema has now realised the flaws in the government tender process and wants to end it.
SRC treasurer Justice Nkomo took a swipe at the founding members of EFF, including Malema and businessman Kenny Kunene. He called EFF a “convenience of stomach empowerment for individuals who are politically disgruntled”.
“I don’t take it [EFF] seriously, it’s not a threat to the ANC and outside Wits it’s not a threat to the PYA [Progressive Youth Alliance]” said Nkomo.
Nkomo also affirmed that the South African Students Congress (Sasco) will continue to support the ANC.
Nhlapo said there were no policy differences between the EFF and ANCYL and called the new organisation’s leaders “dodgy”.
“There is no difference between the ANCYL and EFF, the only contradiction is the EFF is spearheaded by dodgy characters. Julius was expelled from the ANCYL. Floyd [Shivambu] was expelled from the ANCYL,” Nhlapo said.
Ndlozi said the allegations that Malema is corrupt are unfounded: “Julius [Malema] is facing corruption charges. He is facing those charges in court, he’s not running away.”
“Julius was never in government. Malema has not had undue influence. The prosecutor needs to prove that,” said Ndlozi.
Malema, founding member of EFF, owes the SA Revenue Service R16-million for unpaid taxes.
[pullquote]“I believe Wits students are of the highest intellect in political analysis. I have faith in Wits students, they are intelligent and they are going to see through them.” [/pullquote]
The public protector, Thuli Madonsela, alleges that Malema made his millions from a fraudulent tender.
Nkomo called EFF a “mickey mouse political party” and said the new movement will not find a place on Wits campus.
“I believe Wits students are of the highest intellect in political analysis. I have faith in Wits students, they are intelligent and they are going to see through them,” said Nkomo.
Ndlozi accused the ANC of “broad churchism” and said people were allowed to join the party who didn’t believe in the principles of the Freedom Charter. This was one of the reasons EFF was formed.
EFF has seven non-negotiable pillars which include the expropriation of land without compensation, the nationalisation of mines and banks, and free education.
“We want to nationalise the mines, we want to nationalise the banks. The banks are enslaving the middle-class through debt. We have to take over the industries and redistribute the land and wealth to all,” said Ndlozi.
Ndlozi said EFF disagrees with the ANC and their alliance partners because of their policies. He said Agang is too dependent on morality and competence. “Agang is based on morals and competence, we offer more than not being corrupt,” said Ndlozi.
The EFF wants a more radical macro-economic framework. He said the Democratic Alliance (DA) is committed to neo-liberalism, commercialisation, privatisation, the flexible labour market and the minimal role of the state.
Wits Vuvuzela asked if EFF will contest the national elections in 2014 but Ndlozi was noncommittal.
“He [Malema] is popular today. Statistical houses show that EFF might win certain provinces. The people say we must run but we must respect internal processes.”
EFF will go to the National Assembly and present their founding manifesto after a conference to be held at the end of this month.