EFF leader Julius Malema’s questioning of the role of the EFF Student Command has received a backlash from the student structure. Picture: Nhlanhla Phillips/African News Agency/ANA

Durban - Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema’s questioning of the role of the EFF Student Command and suggestions that it could be disbanded has received a backlash from the student structure. 

At the party’s press conference last week, Malema questioned the ability of the student structure to operate without the intervention or being babysat by the party’s leadership.

“Do we need the EFF Student Command? Perhaps at the end of this address, we should answer this because I am going to argue that we do not need the student command at the December conference,” said Malema during a press briefing. 

He said that he would argue at the party’s National People’s Assembly that there was no need for the creation of new party structures, adding that they need to talk about reducing structures. 

Malema said a structure like the student command had been created prematurely and that this was because of pressure from within the party. 

On Sunday, the City Press reported that the EFF Student Command was heavily opposed to Malema’s posture on its existence, with the Sunday publication saying that the student wing felt that disbanding it would severely harm the party as its strength was in its ability to attract young people to the party. 

Political analyst Thabani Khumalo said that given the Student Command’s growth and strength in university elections in recent years, the structure was posing a threat to Malema’s desire to run the party as a two men show, alongside his deputy Floyd Shivambu.

“Malema’s leadership style is authoritative and everything is centralised around him and Floyd. When the likes of Andile Mngxitama and Malaika Mahlatsi tried to raise suggestions within the organisation, they found that it was a one man show and it’s Malema’s creation and about Malema. 

“It was long coming that the growth of the youth within the EFF would end up giving a challenge to Malema because youngsters like asking questions and they’re not afraid to share their ideas, so Malema knows that culture from his time as a youth in the ANC,” Said Khumalo.

He said that the way that Malema, in his time in the ANC, had threatened senior leaders in the ANC and had manipulated processes was the same thing threat that the youth of the EFF now posed to him and his leadership of the party. 

“He can see that now, as an elder in the EFF, and the same game that he played within the ANC is now being played against him hence he has become threatened by these youngsters who have shown strength in terms of mobilising and succeeding in getting the youth to vote for the EFF.

“Whilst Malema was happy that the organisation was growing, but the strength of these upcoming youngsters was becoming a threat to him hence his suggestion that the Student Command be dissolved so that the EFF will be centrally controlled by him and his office,” Khumalo said. 

Political Bureau