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.