Cape Town - The Economic Freedom Fighters are not Nazis and are not inspired by Adolf Hitler, the party said in a statement on Wednesday.
EFF spokesman Mbuyiseni Ndlozi described comments in this regard by African National Congress secretary general Gwede Mantashe as “sick observations”.
“Every day, Mantashe manufactures derogatory labels and tries to stick them to the EFF and he is continuously failing because the EFF is growing stronger and stronger,” Ndlozi said.
On Tuesday, Mantashe said that in the same way Hitler had used brown shirts to mobilise support, the EFF was using red overalls.
“Nazis didn't start by killing Jews,” Mantashe told reporters in Johannesburg following the ANC's national working committee meeting.
“They started by making many promises... developed a uniform of brown shirts, mobilised society, 1/8and 3/8 when it was in power only then did it kill Jews and put them in concentration camps.”
EFF members elected to public office wear red overalls and domestic worker attire in legislatures across the country, to show solidarity with the workers they represent.
This resulted in clashes between the party and the Gauteng legislature earlier this month after they were told the overalls bearing the word “Asijiki” (we will not retreat) on the back were inappropriate for the legislature.
Mantashe said the comparison was fair, based on a political analysis of Julius Malema's EFF.
The party rejected his statements.
“How on earth can a committee of people who are supposed to lead South Africa come to a characterisation that the EFF is a Nazi-inspired organisation and movement?” Ndlozi asked.
“The EFF has nothing to do with Nazis and is not inspired by Hitler.”
The EFF was radical, leftist, anti-capitalist, and anti-imperialist.
“Now, any political leader who uses proper ideological tools of analysis and guide to action will know and understand that a movement that draws inspiration from the broad Marxist-Leninist and Fanonian schools of thought cannot be associated with Hitler and Nazis,” said Ndlozi.
“To be Nazi is to massacre workers when they go on strike to demand a living wage.”