THE EFF leadership at the party’s 2019 Election Manifesto at Giant Stadium in Soshanguve in February. Julius Malema and Floyd Shivambu are the two senior leaders in the party who are guaranteed to be returned to their positions but no one is safe. Picture: Oupa Mokoena / African News Agency (ANA)
Durban - As the EFF’s second elective conference starts today at the Nasrec Expo Centre south of Joburg, experts predict that party leader Julius Malema has little to worry about as he will remain in his current position.

The experts, however, said the heat was on over the other five leadership positions in the EFF.

Dubbed the second national people’s assembly (NPA), the four-day conference is set to attract about 4 000 delegates from the country’s nine provinces, as well as international guests who share the same leftist ideology as the party.

Among issues expected to be tackled as part of the 10 discussion documents on economy, the role of the judiciary, pan-Africanism and internationalism is the EFF’s mission statement, matters on land reform and the media’s role in the battle of ideas - with red berets set to rip apart the “Stratcom phenomenon”.

The leadership battles are set to also take centre stage, with candidates vying for position, having campaigned silently over the last few months.

Currently, Malema serves as the party’s president, Floyd Shivambu as his deputy, Godrich Gardee as the secretary-general, and Hlengiwe Mkhaliphi as his deputy. Dali Mpofu is the national chairperson while Leigh-Ann Mathys is the treasurer-general.

It remains to be seen if the status quo of the closely-knit group, that has been formidable over the last few years, will remain.

Independent political analyst, Ralph Mathekga said Malema’s position would be safe and he would be retained without a contest.

His view was echoed by another political analyst, Xolani Dube of Xubera Institute in Durban.

Both analysts agreed that there would be no blood on the floor at the conference as Malema runs a tight ship, insists on discipline and would ensure that the contest was handled in an orderly manner.

Mathekga said that recently the party had faced several challenges with negative media reports, and being an anti-establishment party, members would use the opportunity to close ranks.

“It might actually give them the mood that says they need Julius even more as part of that consolidation. In a moment such as this it is quite unthinkable (to vote Malema out). Anything can happen the top command, the chairperson and so forth, there can be reshuffling here and there but I would imagine the top position of the EFF for me in a moment such as this and in the foreseeable future, I still see it being held by Julius,” he said.

Mathekga added that Malema’s deputy, Floyd Shivambu, was not guaranteed his position but there may be compromises that could save him from facing a bruising contest.

Echoing Mathekga, Dube said Malema was the life and the blood of the party and party members were well aware of that fact.

He maintained that if there were efforts to remove him, they may come in the next elective conference, not now. 

“There is no way he can be contested, not his position. The reason is very simple, EFF members are fully aware that without Malema there is no EFF and so they have come to that reality Malema is the EFF and the EFF is Malema,” Dube said.

However, Dube warned that Malema’s internal opponents may try to stealthy undermine him by opposing some of his preferred policy proposals. He added that the other five positions would be contested, but said the position of Shivambu would also be safe.

“Not Floyd, the others are not indispensable, they can be dispensed at any time. The others are not important, take for instance Hlengiwe (Mkhaliphi), what makes Hlengiwe important in the EFF?” Dube asked.

Among the highlights at the conference will be the EFF’s political report on the state of the party, which will be delivered by Malema tomorrow afternoon.

According to the programme, nominations and electing of the top six officials will take place late tomorrow and the elections will be conducted by the Institute of Election Management, which is chaired by former IEC top brass, Terry Tselane.

Politics Bureau