EFF does not have premier candidates, says its KZN chair

KwaZulu-Natal EFF chairperson Mongezi Twala says although he is number one on the party’s provincial election candidate list only the national leadership will decide who becomes the premier if the party wins. | EFF

KwaZulu-Natal EFF chairperson Mongezi Twala says although he is number one on the party’s provincial election candidate list only the national leadership will decide who becomes the premier if the party wins. | EFF

Published Apr 1, 2024


Durban — Most political parties’ premier candidates would top their election list, but this is not the case with the EFF.

So while Mongezi Twala, the chairperson of the party in KwaZulu-Natal, was listed as the first person, it did not mean that he would become the province’s first citizen should the EFF win the election.

“We don’t have premier candidates in the EFF and it has been the culture ever since the organisation was founded,” he said.

Twala, who hails from Newcastle, has been a member of the KZN legislature since 2019. Before that, he was a ward councillor in the Amajuba District Municipality.

Prior to joining the EFF in 2013, he was an active member of the ANC Youth League under Julius Malema’s leadership.

Twala said he was inspired to join the red berets when he saw how Malema stood up for victims of the Marikana massacre, which saw 34 miners being killed by the police on August 16, 2012.

“There were no other politicians who stood by the workers and against what the ANC government did to the people of Marikana who were fighting just for a living wage, like the way our president (Malema) did,” said Twala.

He is currently pursuing studies in public administration and is not involved in any form of business.

Twala said anyone on the EFF’s provincial election list could be appointed as the premier – a decision taken by Malema and the national leadership.

“In the organisation, we are taught a culture of not positioning ourselves for position-mongering. On top of our list of priorities is to work for the growth of the organisation,” said Twala.

He said whoever was appointed premier should prioritise rural development.

“After 30 years of democracy, people in rural areas are still suffering.”

Twala said the economic hubs – Durban, Newcastle, Pietermaritzburg and Richard Bay – were showing signs of a collapsing economy. He specifically mentioned Newcastle as a town with no productivity and being unable to attract investors.

“There is no industrialisation and also the emergence of small, micro and medium enterprises (SMMEs) in the form of black people emerging in the mainstream economy. Be it agriculture or manufacturing, there is absolutely nothing taking place,” he said.

Twala said it was concerning that the few factories that operated in Newcastle, such as DCD Venco, that manufactured machines used largely in mining, had closed shop.

“These were industries that assisted in revenue generation in Newcastle, but under the current leadership there is nothing.

“It was only apartheid industries that are there and this black government never had a solid plan in terms of attracting investment and also stimulating the local economy,” he said.

Twala said municipalities had local economic development plans with “huge budget” allocations but did not translate them to practicality.

“People are heavily reliant on chain stores. We need people to participate in the economy, but how do you do that if people are unemployed?

“It means money cannot circulate because once you have more people being paid well it means a number of them would participate in the economy of Newcastle and by so doing, you are creating a demand. Then people could afford to pay taxes and rent,” he said.

Twala said when it came to forming a coalition government, the EFF would work with parties that advocated for land expropriation, nationalisation and free education.

“There are parties that are pronouncing on expropriation of land, nationalisation of mines and free education,” he said.

He said the EFF would not work with the IFP, ActionSA, the DA and others “who have declared us enemy number one”.

“Remember that they had their multiparty charter conference where they declared the EFF as enemy number one because of our radical policies, such as expropriation of land,” he said.

Twala expressed confidence that the EFF, which filled Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban to almost capacity during its manifesto launch on February 10, would perform well in the elections. He said should they win the election the party’s premier should be a person who worked tirelessly.

“Not a person who will enjoy a luxury life sponsored by the state. We are not looking for a character who is reactionary.

“It should be a person who wants to change people’s lives and bring hope to the hopeless in KZN.

“Our people are living in squalor in areas like Bhambayi, so we need to do away with shack dwellers and give our people decent houses and decent townships,” he said.

Asked if he had such qualities, Twala said, “I am not aspiring to be the premier.”

Sunday Tribune