EFF members are embroiled in a bitter battle in a push for their preferred candidates at next month’s national elective conference, with some leaders being accused of bribing delegates to ensure victory.
The conference is scheduled for December 13 to 15 at Nasrec in Johannesburg.
The EFF branches most affected by the alleged bribes are predominantly in KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga, with delegates from the two provinces telling City Press that they have been approached and promised rewards in exchange for their votes.
City Press understands that there is also widespread concern that only two of the current top six officials – president Julius Malema and deputy president Floyd Shivambu – are guaranteed to return, leaving the door wide open for ugly contestation for the other top positions. Should this happen it could leave a bitter taste in the mouths of some after the national people’s assembly.
Senior leader Marshall Dlamini, who City Press has reported in the past as being earmarked by the party’s leadership to fill the position of secretary-general, and the EFF’s Mpumalanga provincial chairperson Collen Sedibe, have been accused of spearheading the underhand attempts to illegally win votes.
Gifts have been coming in the form of “Christmas food parcels”, claimed a member in the Dlamini camp, who is a nominated delegate representing KwaZulu-Natal at the elective conference.
He added that “the level of hunger is the breeding ground for this unjust lobbying”.
“The problem is that people are hungry, people are desperate. So when we promise food parcels for the coming festive season they give in,” the delegate said.
Another delegate told City Press that he was promised an iPhone should he vote for Dlamini.
“You know we fighters like lavish lifestyles. An iPhone sounded very interesting to own this festive season,” he said, hinting that he was considering voting for Dlamini.
Although delegates who were considering giving in to the temptation understand the unethical nature of such actions, they conceded that hunger was influencing most branches.
Dlamini angrily refuted these allegations: “That is nonsense, I am not involved in any of those allegations.”
Sedibe said he would “not give comments to Stratcom”.
Read: The EFF was the biggest winner in these elections. This is how it did it
The EFF in KwaZulu-Natal is also in turmoil with members up in arms. They want senior representation in the party’s influential positions.
They claim that the EFF owes them a senior member from the province given that the party recently fired one of its own.
City Press reported last week that Lungi Gabuza, former provincial command team member, was expelled from the branch for defying the instruction of the central command team to cede her seat in Parliament.
“We are one member short, and the central command team should explain to us why Lungi was fired for speaking out to the central command team. She would be part of the delegates who were going to represent KwaZulu-Natal, but they robbed us of her before conference,” they said.
EFF KwaZulu-Natal members are also divided on who they want to be the next secretary-general. One group is backing EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi for the post while the other supports Dlamini.
Some central command team members told City Press this week that they too had reservations about Malema’s alleged bid to replace secretary-general Godrich Gardee with Dlamini.
They said that the party leader’s decision was likely to be motivated by how much money the former businessperson could contribute to the party.
“If they insist on having Dlamini in the top six, then the treasurer general position would make the most sense given that they want him for his money. He will struggle with being the engine [of the party] given that he is not that great in dealing with people. Futhi uyalwa, angasishaya sonke. (He is aggressive; he can beat up all of us),” one member said.
Another member said that while they disagreed with Dlamini as a replacement for Gardee, they were mostly concerned with the potential carnage of doing away with four top officials who have only served a single term in the young party’s existence.