EFF leader Julius Malema, who has described KwaZulu-Natal as a key battleground for this year’s national general elections, has told his party’s provincial leaders that he expects nothing less than a provincial ballot win.
Malema, addressing thousands of supporters during the EFF’s manifesto launch at Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday, said provincial chairperson Mongezi Twala must lead the party to victory at the elections.
The party has deployed its deputy president Floyd Shivambu to the province to head the election campaign as it sees an opportunity to grow its votes in a ballot that will be hotly contested.
Malema said KZN is the home of the EFF as the province is where the party grew the most in 2019.
“In the 2019 provincial and national elections the EFF got more than 350 000 votes here in KwaZulu-Natal,” Malema said.
“Between 2016 and 2021, the number of councillors of the EFF in all municipalities here in the province increased from 68 to 168, meaning that we gained an additional 100 councillors.”
The EFF’s support in the province rose from 1.85% in 2014 to 9.96% in 2019 and of the 363 832 votes won in 2019, more than 45% of votes came from eThekwini.
Addressing Twala, Malema said: “You have no option but to win KwaZulu-Natal province. It is on your shoulders under the supervision of our capable deputy president to deliver this province.
“The people of Jozini, Hluhluwe and Mtubatuba must rest assured that their freedom from traditional organisations masquerading as political parties is coming, that people of Esikhawini, Empangeni, Nkandla, Newcastle, Dannhauser ... economic freedom is coming,” Malema said.
He said the party had full confidence in Twala and the provincial election task force “when we take over this province, there will not be anyone who will come from outside to lead the government of KwaZulu-Natal”.
Malema said the province was known for its wars against colonialism and oppression.
“When we talk about this province, we talk about warriors who fought in the Battle of Isandlwana 145 years ago, when you talk about this province, it is the province of Inkosi Bhambatha kaMancinza who refused to surrender to British colonialism 118 years ago.”
Malema said the province also produced Anthon Lembede, “one of the most outstanding predecessors in the Congress Youth League”.
“The first president of the Congress Youth died 77 years ago at the age of 33.
“We take this opportunity to assure president Lembede that we continue to be under his ideological, political and visionary guidance of achieving freedom in our lifetime,” Malema said.
He said the party’s manifesto would focus on land, jobs and the load shedding crisis that was affecting employment and business.
Political analyst Professor Bheki Mngomezulu said the EFF had deliberately ensured that the majority of supporters were from KZN.
“They did this because there was a suggestion previously that they did not have a lot of support in the province and he spoke about a number of regions or branches that people had come from.
“This was a way of saying that they have significant support in the province and did not have to bus in people from other provinces.”
Mngomezulu said the EFF, IFP and Freedom Front Plus were the parties that did well in the 2019 general elections but the emergence of the MK Party has disrupted their plans.
“Even if the EFF continues to grow, as seen by previous elections, they will not grow as much as anticipated because of the newly formed party.”