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Cape Town - The Economic Freedom Fighters will support the ANC, or the DA, depending on the issue, said EFF commander-in-chief Julius Malema, adding his party would redraw political boundaries in Parliament to expose the similarities between the governing and largest opposition party.
Following a three-day political workshop to chart the course for the 25 EFF newbie MPs to the National Assembly, and six delegates to the National Council of Provinces, Malema at his maiden media briefing as EFF parliamentary leader on Sunday promised they would deliver “quality”, “substantive” and issue-driven input as the first ever socialist organisation represented in Parliament.
“The ANC represents the same as the DA: the exclusion of the black majority and the exploitation of the working class. We are here to challenge both of them and take them on,” said Malema. “The ANC and DA will work together to oppose the EFF. There’s nobody in this Parliament who represents an alternative agenda, but the EFF.”
On Sunday, the EFF joined an opposition call for the re-establishment of the ad hoc committee into the public protector’s report on the R215 million taxpayer-funded security upgrades at Zuma’s Nkandla estate.
“President Zuma must be held accountable for those resources he misused at Nkandla. We stand with the public protector. We say to her she must not retreat,” said Malema, adding his “thanks” to the ANC for having allowed a situation where “they waited for us to arrive here so we can be seized with this matter – and we shall attend to it accordingly”.
The DA last week indicated it had written to newly elected Speaker Baleka Mbete to reinstitute the ad hoc parliamentary committee into the Nkandla debacle, a request supported by the ACDP.
Meanwhile, a question mark hangs over the promise before the elections to take the public protector report on review to court, the only mechanism to challenge findings.
Newly appointed Justice Minister Mike Masutha was quoted in City Press, saying he was unaware of pending litigation, and should Parliament resuscitate the matter, that would be the suitable space to deal with the report.
For the EFF, among its first order of parliamentary business, would be tabling a motion for Parliament to help find a lasting solution for the four-month old strike in the platinum belt – Mineral Resources Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi last Wednesday appointed a task team to do just that – and for elected public representatives to use public facilities, including hospitals and schools.
“It does not make sense that government gives people services that its leaders are not prepared to use,” said Malema. “We want these schools and hospitals to be upgraded… They will never be of quality if MPs are not using them.”
But some verbal somersaults were needed to explain why, contrary to an earlier public statement, EFF parliamentarians had taken up subsidised housing in the parliamentary villages, transport, and other perks.
“We are not desperate. We come with our own medical aids here. We are told to cancel them and take Parliament’s,” explained Malema, adding there was little his party could do until it was the government.
Right now, Malema argued, it would be a waste of taxpayers’ money, and “irresponsible”, if the EFF did not take up the subsidised housing which the national legislature provided anyway. “Sell these houses and take the money to the needy people in Khayelitsha. Let MPs buy their own houses. We are ready to abandon the benefits,” he added.
Malema also used the media briefing to tear into DA and ANC leaders.
“We can’t vote Helen Zille – the number one racist in South Africa – into power, he said.”
“We are not drunk. If Helen Zille takes over this government, she will unashamedly… take us back to the land of misery and pain.
“That’s her ambition. That’s what she wants to do to black people, that’s what she is doing in the DA. (DA parliamentary leader) Mmusi Maimane is not happy there, like all black people in the DA – they are not happy.”
Zille’s spokesman, Geordin Hill-Lewis, dismissed the remarks: “Everyone can see straight through Juju’s nonsense. The facts show the DA is the most diverse and fastest-growing political party in South Africa.”
As for former national police commissioner Bheki Cele’s appointment as deputy minister of agriculture, forestry and fisheries, Malema said: “Bheki Cele is going to shoot and kill fishes?” referencing Cele’s “shoot to kill” statements when he headed the SAPS.
Malema also recalled how Agriculture Minister Senzeni Zokwana, the former National Union of Mineworkers president, promised a naked men’s march against “The Spear” amid the 2012 controversy over the painting which depicted Zuma with exposed genitals.
“We don’t want to see those things of Zokwana. He is rewarded for demonstrating capacity to march naked… You want a cabinet position, you must threaten to march naked… then you will be rewarded.”
The SACP, in which Zokwana serves as chairman, on Sunday dismissed the comments as “petty” and with a “political agenda”, Sapa reports.
Deputy SACP chairman Thulas Nxexi, also public works minister, said: “It’s a way of demonising comrade Zokwana because he has only been appointed a minister last week.”
Describing Zuma’s cabinet as “wasteful” and an effort to “accommodate as many of his loyalists as possible”, Malema said if his party was in charge there would only be 22 ministries, not an executive of 72, including deputies.
Another “waste” was allocating largely ceremonial duties to deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa, while key planning and evaluation tasks went to Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe.
This was not a defence of Ramaphosa, who, according to Malema, represented bourgeoisie interests, but “the fact nonetheless is that Ramaphosa has been overlooked in favour of Zuma’s home-boy Radebe, rendering (Ramaphosa) redundant”.
Political Bureau and Sapa