The EFF has withdrawn its 2016 decision to vote with the DA at municipalities, party leader Julius Malema said. File picture: Nokuthula Mbatha/African News Agency(ANA)

Johannesburg - The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has withdrawn its 2016 decision to vote with the Democratic Alliance (DA) at municipalities, party leader Julius Malema said on Tuesday.

Neither will the EFF support the governing African National Congress, Malema said.

"We will participate in the debates, make inputs, however, we will not vote," Malema told reporters at a briefing in Johannesburg.

The working relationship between the red berets of the EFF and the DA started after the 2016 local government polls. The two parties voted together on issues at hung councils such as Nelson Mandela Bay, the City of Johannesburg and in Tshwane. At the time, Malema said the DA was the "better devil" compared to the ANC.

"Being neutral was not an option. A revolutionary can never be neutral. We’re not in positions, there is no alliance or special committee to manage here. We are caught between the two devils and had to choose a better devil. We had to take sides, if we were wrong…this is history, let history judge us," Malema told reporters back in 2016.

After the May 8 general elections this year, Malema announced that his party was eyeing the mayorship in Tshwane and also wanted to play a role in the mayoral committee in the City of Johannesburg. The EFF planned to take Tshwane because it was in the red, with allegedly corrupt business people from former mayor Sputla Kgosientsho's era still doing business with the metro. 

The DA confirmed it was approached by the EFF and had informed the red berets that they have signed agreements to work together with the Congress of the People (Cope), the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) and the Freedom Front Plus (FF Plus), and won't give in to the EFF's demands to take over hung councils. 

The relationship has come to an end as the DA now refuses to cooperate with the EFF, Malema said.

"The DA refuses to vote with us. We voted for them but now they won't vote with us for Tshwane. We can't keep voting for the DA when they cannot vote for us...It is done, it's finished."

However, the EFF still supports DA mayor Herman Mashaba's leadership style in Johannesburg.

"Mashaba is a good guy...we even said we can have him as an EFF mayor, we do not mind. Maybe Mashaba is teaching us something...maybe our problems do not need politicians. Mashaba is not a politician, he does not take political attitudes, and it helps," Malema said.

The EFF will hold its second National Assembly in December in Johannesburg where new leaders will be elected. Malema said branches are going to discuss leadership but not nominate any. The nomination of leaders will take place at plenary under the management of the electoral commission, he said.

African News Agency (ANA)