An emotional Andile Mngxitama is seen after he declined his nomination for Central Command Team. It was on day three of the partys National Peoples Assembly held in Bloemfontein. Picture: Lenyaro Sello/eNCA.
CAPE TOWN - Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) member Andile Mngxitama has alluded to party leader Julius Malema and his deputy Floyd Shivambu using underhanded tactics to get rid of some of the party’s members of parliament (MPs).
“The leadership of the EFF has gone to the African National Congress (ANC) and asked the ANC to … illegally expel seven members of parliament of EFF, in exchange for a not disrupting SONA (State of the Nation),” said Mngxitama.
He claims the ANC refused the request, resulting in EFF leader Julius Malema calling on party members to disrupt the president’s speech on Thursday night.
Malema has said that his party will stand up in Parliament and ask President Jacob Zuma to give answers about his Nkandla homestead, before he begins delivering his speech.
"We find it unethical, we find it reactionary and we find it part of the culture of corruption and part of abusing legitimate issues of the people for narrow ends,” said Mngxitama.
In December, Mngxitama and other members of the EFF declined nominations for leadership at the party’s elective conference, dubbed the People&39;s Assembly, in Bloemfontein.
Since then, tensions have been high between Mngxitama and the party’s leadership.
“If the EFF wants to get rid of these MPs it must follow procedure," he said.
Mngxitama says the EFF’s top leadership are the ones spearheading apparent discussion with the ruling party.
“Julius Malema and Floyd Shibamvu in particular, those are the people that are involved in discussions with the ANC. Those are the people who have demanded our heads -- seven of us -- from the ANC in exchange for keeping quiet today," he said.
The EFF member says he and others can’t go ahead with disruptions in the National Assembly during the president’s speech, in light of information they have received.
“We can’t be part of that. I can’t go with a clean conscious into the Assembly today and shout &39;pay back the money&39; when I know it is not about Nkandla, it is not about accountability - it is about Julius Malema trying to get his way and trying to do illegal things.”
Mngxitama spoke to eNCA after his planned media briefing descended into chaos on Thursday as two factions of the EFF came to blows.
Before he could address journalists, the two factions started singing. Tension then mounted in the room and members started pushing and shoving each other when they were told that it was not a party meeting.
Bernard Joseph, the Western Cape EFF Chairperson, stood up and said Mngxitama had called him on Wednesday night and told him he wanted to call a meeting – not a press conference.
Joseph said Mngxitama had no mandate to call an EFF press conference.
EFF members accused Mngxitama of looking for attention, after which he was assaulted and forced to flee the Southern Sun Hotel.
Awaiting official report
Meanwhile, EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi has told eNCA that the party is awaiting an official report into what happened during the press conference, adding details of the confrontation are still not clear to the leadership.
“We heard that there was supposed to have been a meeting at 11, which culminated into a press conference and a press conference kept moving from – place to place, we have no idea because we are focused on what is going to happen tonight,” said Ndlozi.
He says the party focus is for President Jacob Zuma to answer questions regarding Nkandla adding all members are expected to report for duty tonight.
“We are just hoping they will get to work and report on time because we are all supposed to be here. We all agreed in one caucus that tonight is the D-day and we have to deliver on the mandate which the voters of South Africa voted us for which we put in the manifesto that is President Zuma must resolve the Nkandla question,” he added.