Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema. Picture: PETER MOGAKI
Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema. Picture: PETER MOGAKI

EFF leader Julius Malema has "confessed" that giving the party’s vote to Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba was not an answer to the leadership in the metro.

It is unclear what this sentiment would mean for how the party, which is a kingmaker in the metro, would vote in a vote of no confidence tabled against Mashaba, who is a DA member, for next week.

"If there is an ANC mayor with a history of immediate corruption and a mayor of the DA who has no history of anything except selling hair products, you are bound to try the hair product man," Malema said, referring to Mashaba, who made his fortune in the cosmetics industry.

The EFF was forced to make that decision, Malema said.

"After doing that we come here to confess that indeed that was not an answer. Our people in those municipalities are still subjected to difficult conditions," Malema said on Thursday evening in Sandton.

He singled out Johannesburg, saying people were subjected to "xenophobic utterances by the mayor" — who, he said, believed the solution to problems in the city was to attack foreigners.

"Even if foreigners left tomorrow, there would be many unemployed, our infrastructure would be in a bad condition, just ask the people of the north here in Sandton. They spent three days without water … in a municipality run by the DA. Even if you chase away the foreigners, that pipe is still going to burst," Malema said.

He also hit out at Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga, also of the DA, saying that there "you have a mayor who has a white supervisor".

The EFF caucus boycotted some coalition-led council meetings earlier this year in a bid to teach the DA a lesson in how to work with its smaller coalition parties, after the UDM’s Mongameli Bobani was ousted as deputy mayor of Nelson Mandela Bay in a vote of no confidence by the coalition in the metro.

Malema told the audience at The Gathering in Sandton, which was hosted by the online publication The Daily Maverick, that political work had proven historically that you can be presented with two options that are both wrong, referring to the ANC and the DA.

Following the local government elections in 2016, the EFF had to decide what its position would be, as there were multiple hung councils in the country in which the ANC had dropped below 50% of the vote.

In the two metros of Tshwane and Johannesburg, as well as other smaller municipalities, the EFF’s vote was crucial to get the formal coalition into a governing position.

The EFF votes on a case-by-case basis, but initially said when voting for the leaders of municipalities, that it would vote to keep the ANC out of power.

"We had to choose between the two devils, being the ANC and the DA," Malema said, emphasising that there was no better devil between the two parties.

Malema said the voters had to decide on the mandate of who is in government, and if they are "so indecisive", they should be made to clearly give a party a mandate, as they put parties such as the EFF into a difficult position.

Failed state

On the state of SA, Malema said the features were not difficult to miss: “One: the absence of the rule of law. Two: the emergence of the untouchable president. Three: massive corruption that is not acted upon. Four: promotion and embracing of mediocrity into the highest office. All these features perfectly define where we are as South Africans.”

Malema reminded the racially diverse audience that nearby Alexandra township was capable of hosting such events.

“I see you (organisers) have changed the venue from Vodacom to a new venue. I just wanted to tell you that there are very beautiful venues in Alexandra‚ this is where our people are found … this is a discussion that needs to be heard where our people are found‚” he said‚ to applause.

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