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Johannesburg - Businessman Kenny Kunene quit as a member of the Economic Freedom Fighters on Monday because some party members were “uncomfortable” with his presence.
The Sushi King on Monday officially quit his membership of Julius Malema’s EFF, saying he did not want to see it rocked by leadership squabbles, as had happened with Cope.
He said he had opted to move out to allow his detractors to focus on what EFF stood for, instead of spending time lobbying against him.
Kunene told The Star he had submitted his resignation to EFF policy head Floyd Shivambu.
“I will not mention names of people who were uncomfortable with my presence in the organisation,” Kunene said.
“I brought a lot of people into EFF. I am not here to boast about it, but a lot of people joined because of me,” Kunene said.
“It (resigning) was a huge sacrifice.
“I still believe in EFF’s policies and I would urge all those I had recruited to stay put in the organisation.”
Kunene’s departure came after he resigned as the party’s head of campaigns, mobilisation and special projects last week but promised to remain an EFF member.
At the time, the businessman said he wanted to concentrate on his business.
But on Monday, Kunene said he would have nothing to do with the EFF.
He said Malema and Shivambu were aware of his concerns and had accepted his reasons for leaving.
“There is no animosity between me and senior leaders of EFF.”
With his business partner Gayton McKenzie, he would now “focus on brokering peace among the warring gangs in Cape Town”.
He would also look after his granddaughter.
While he declined to reveal the identities of his detractors, a Sunday newspaper - quoting unnamed sources - insinuated Kunene had been pushed to resign. The paper reported that many people wanted to join the EFF but did not want to be associated with Kunene.
EFF spokesman Mbuyiseni Ndlozi confirmed Kunene’s resignation, saying the party would miss him because he was a great person to work with.
“We were particularly impressed with his charisma, fearlessness, and wisdom to dissect complex challenges.
“We were further excited by the reception he received on the ground by ordinary communities across the country who often welcomed him as their own,” Ndlozi said.
Kunene announced his foray into active politics by penning an open letter critical of President Jacob Zuma. He labelled the ANC leader a ruthless dictator who destroyed his political opponents while smiling with them in public.