The newly elected EFF top 6 From Left: Omphile Maotwe-Treasurer General, Veronica Mente - National Chairperson, Julius Malema - Chief in Command, Floyd Shivambu - Deputy President, Marshall Dlamini - Secretary General and Poppy Moilola - Deputy Secretary General at a press briefing following their organisational redesign plenary presentation. at the 2nd National People’s Assembly Conference at Nasrec, Johannesburg. Picture: Nhlanhla Phillips/African News Agency(ANA).

Johannesburg - Following his re-election uncontested, EFF leader Julius Malema has dismissed claims that he was ruling the party with an iron fist.

Briefing the media on Sunday on the progress of the party’s second national assembly currently underway in Nasrec, south of Johannesburg, Malema said his dominance within the party was due to hard work and not dictatorship.

Malema and his deputy Floyd Shivambu were the only officials among the previous top six who retained their positions at the conference.

“If you are going to engage in elitist politics of tweeting, those of us who are on the ground will just look at you and say ‘look at this clown’.  We know what is going to happen. We are on the ground. We are not scared of the ground,” Malema said.

Malema accused the media of being used by his detractors to ensure his downfall, which he said would not succeed.

“We are in charge here. We are not playing games,” he said.

Malema said he had never lost elective conferences and that people had to give credit to him even if they hated him.

“My simple thing of being re-elected unopposed all the time is very simple. I work very hard. I don’t take anything for granted. I pay attention to the smallest detail. I know everything that is happening in this conference. Even if you want to hate me, you have to come to accept that it does not matter what you think of me. So I am not a dictator, I am a hard worker,” he said.

EFF head of security Marshal Dlamini defeated incumbent secretary general Godrich Gardee, while Dali Mpofu who unsuccessfully contested for deputy president against Shivambu was succeeded by EFF MP Victoria Mente.

EFF MP Ompile Maotwe was elected treasurer general, replacing Leigh-Ann Mathys while Poppy Mailola replaced Hlengiwe Hlophe as deputy secretary general.

Malema said he had singlehandedly worked his way up in politics.

“It is those who can’t defeat me who call me names that I am a dictator,” he said.

 It was unclear if Mpofu, Hlophe and Mathys would make it to the Central Command Team as additional members as nominations began on Sunday evening.

Politics Bureau