Two party loyalists who switched allegiance claim to have done so on principle
The EFF experienced contrasting fortunes as yet another MP dumped the party, while a former ANC Youth League provincial secretary, Jacob Lebogo, finally ditched the ANC to join Julius Malema’s red berets.
Lebogo jumped after his name did not feature on the governing party’s list of candidates vying for positions in Parliament and provincial legislatures.
Former EFF MP Zolile Xalisa joined the African Transformation Movement (ATM) following his resignation last week.
Xalisa’s resignation follows that of Thembinkosi Rawula, who is now embroiled in a legal battle with Malema.
Xalisa told City Press on Friday that the party had subjected him to a series of frivolous disciplinary hearings, resulting in his decision to leave.
Xalisa features as number 73 on the EFF’s parliamentary list, making his return to Parliament unlikely.
He said his fallout with the party began when he wrote an objection on his Facebook wall to the “special”, treatment given to pop star Ringo Madlingozi, who appears as number 39 on the parliamentary list.
Xalisa said he was questioning why Madlingozi, who had been given gigs at EFF events, was being given the responsibilities and treatment of a “commissar”, or elected official, even over central command team members like Xalisa at times.
He also said that secretary-general Godrich Gardee was forced to abandon a disciplinary case against him for allegedly leaking a central command team (CCT) document to members of the Western Cape provincial command team.
He denied having leaked the document, but Gardee insisted that he had – and Xalisa could not prove his claim of innocence.
Xalisa also repeated claims made by Rawula that EFF money was mismanaged – although he admitted to not having proof of this – and that the CCT was yet to receive a financial report.
EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said Xalisa did not make the cut in the list.
“EFF branches democratically rejected him. He now joins a very short line of position-mongers who, because they lost positions, lie about the EFF.”
Xalisa says he joined the ATM on Thursday, shortly after sending his resignation letter to the EFF’s top brass.
At the height of Malema’s troubles in the ANC – during his time as president of the party’s youth league – and after he was expelled from the ANC in 2012, Lebogo was among those who vigorously supported the firebrand leader.
Malema and Lebogo cut their political teeth in the Congress of SA Students (Cosas) before being elected to the powerful positions of provincial secretaries of the ANC Youth League.
Lebogo’s detractors in the ANC revealed to City Press last week that they were always deeply suspicious of him.
They said his loyalty to the ANC was always in question.
“He was always seen as a spy for the EFF. He was never trusted because of his close friendship with Julius,” said a provincial executive committee member, who asked not to be named.
When contacted for comment, Lebogo dismissed the suggestions that he quit the ANC after he failed to make the party’s candidate list, calling them “lies”.
“They said I left because of hunger. It is they who have food; the EFF does not have resources. It is they who have power and access to resources. I am leaving them as a matter of principle. I am surviving on my own. They know the reality – that their ship is sinking,” he said.
Calling the ANC deeply divided, Lebogo said he decided to leave because he did not want to be in any faction.
“Branches called me and said they want to nominate me to be on the list. I told them to nominate other comrades and they did exactly that. I never had ambitions to be on the list.”
EFF provincial chairperson Jossey Buthane welcomed Lebogo, saying he was not a “position-monger”.
Buthane added: “Ever since they chased him away from being the secretary of the youth league, he remained with them up until he left.”
Boy Mamabolo, the ANC’s Milo Malatji branch chairperson in Seshego, Limpopo, said the party had lost a soldier.
“It is sad because all former Cosas leaders are leaving the ANC to join the EFF. He is my predecessor at Cosas,” he said.
Mamabolo said his pleas with Lebogo not to leave the ANC fell on deaf ears.
“He called me and we spoke for more than an hour. I tried to engage him, but we could not find each other,” said Mamabolo, who was shot in the chest by Lebogo at a popular Polokwane nightspot in 2014.
“I have forgiven him for the shooting thing. He is a cadre of the movement that I grew up with.”
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