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Johannesburg - DEATH threats by Julius Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) have landed South Africa’s newest political party in hot water and left it with a hefty legal bill, barely two weeks after registering with the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).
The Workforce Group, a company listed on the JSE’s alternative exchange and also a labour broker, succeeded on Friday at the Labour Court in Joburg in getting an order barring the EFF from its premises in Vereeniging, Gauteng and across the country.
The case follows an altercation early last month during which EFF national central command team member Sam Tshabalala allegedly led a group of about 200 ex-employees to demand reinstatement, according to the company. EFF members apparently made death threats and the company fears its employees might be killed.
Like EFF leaders, Tshabalala is a former ANC member in the ruling party’s Sedibeng region. The IEC announced the EFF’s registration on September 5.
The Workforce Group told Acting Judge Lavery Modise that when the EFF marched on the company’s site in Vereeniging its members threatened bloodshed if the ex-employees were not taken back.
Modise asked how the company knew the group were EFF members. “It could have been an individual on a frolic of his own,” he said of Tshabalala.
“Tshabalala identified himself as a member of the EFF’s national central command team,” the Workforce Group’s advocate responded, saying the death threats necessitated approaching the Labour Court as the party’s actions went against good society standards.
The company served its papers to the EFF’s “only known e-mail address”, a Gmail account, justifying this by saying the EFF was a new political party and had no registered physical address at the time it instituted the court action. The EFF will also have to pay The Workforce Group’s legal costs, which the company justified by saying the EFF had an opportunity to come to court but chose not to.
The company said not awarding a costs order would be a message to the EFF to do whatever it wanted.
Tshabalala could not be reached for comment and despite promising to respond, EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi failed to do so.
Meanwhile, the Tshwane Co-operative Movement, set to benefit from the R1.1 billion to be spent by the City of Tshwane this year on co-operatives, has suspended some of its leaders for being EFF members.
Wiseman Gudu and Lucy Seolela were told joining the EFF was unacceptable and warned they were being monitored and that further participation in EFF activities would result in severe disciplinary action including being discharged from the movement.
The City of Tshwane recently promised to train co-operatives in infrastructure maintenance and services, minor roadworks and repairs totalling R500 million.
Tshwane Co-operative Movement chairperson Setene Ketlele said the timing was not right and promised to explain the suspensions next week.