File photo: From left Floyd Shivambu, Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Commander in Chief Julius Malema and Advocate Dali Mpofu at an EFF rally. Picture: Dumisani Sibeko

Johannesburg - The EFF should blame itself for losing the use of Atteridgeville stadium for an election rally, the City of Tshwane said on Wednesday.

“The EFF, by not making a final presentation to the events joint operations committee (JOC), has not secured approval for hosting the event and thus has forfeited its right to use the stadium,” spokesman Blessing Manale said in a statement.

This led to the Economic Freedom Fighters “automatically disqualifying themselves from holding their national elections rally” on May 4.

On Tuesday, the EFF approached the High Court in Pretoria to challenge the city's decision to withdraw permission for the use of the Lucas Moripe Stadium.

The municipality initially granted the EFF permission to use the stadium but then withdrew it.

The party said in court papers it had already spent R5 million on the rally when the agreement was unilaterally cancelled.

Judge Sulet Potterill removed the EFF's application by agreement between the parties, saying it appeared that the dispute between them had gone away.

Manale said the EFF's failure to attend the meeting meant that the party's planned rally was “non-compliant and illegal”.

This was because the city's facilities could not be insured for the event, should it take place without the events JOC's approval.

Tshwane mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa said the city saw the EFF's action as “a ploy to seek public sympathy and create an impression of our city council being a repressive and intolerant government”.

The city indicted the party from advertising the event, as it would create conditions for public violence and uprising.

Manale said the city would approach the court and ask that the party be held in contempt of court.

The EFF could not immediately be reached for comment.