EFF feels legislature wrath

EFF MPs are removed by police from the Gauteng Provincial Legislature for wearing red overalls, 1 July 2014. Picture: @EconFreedomZA via Twitter
EFF MPs are removed by police from the Gauteng Provincial Legislature for wearing red overalls, 1 July 2014. Picture: @EconFreedomZA via Twitter

NOTE: Article first appeared in The Citizen newspaper on July 2, 2014. 

Two  EFF MPLs were injured yesterday after being thrown out of the Gauteng Provincial Legislature for wearing overalls.

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) spokesperson Omphile Maotwe who siad Benjamin Disolwane and Mgcini Faku were “manhandled” by security when they were being removed from the legislature.

“Our chief whip (Faku) had his arm broken during the forced removal,” said Maotwe.

The members and six others were asked to leave the legislature when they came dressed in their red overalls.

The Speaker of the provincial legislature, Ntombi Megkwe said EFF MPLs were asked to “excuse themselves” after she explained to them that they were dressed inappropriately.

When they refused to do so, she invoked Legislatures Act 4 of 2004 which gives her the power to evict members of the legislature from the proceedings.

Parliamentary spokesperson Luzuko Jacobs said the National Assembly operated separately from any other Legislature.

The National Assembly therefore allowed the EFF to attend the proceedings wearing their overalls.

Party insignia and symbols are allowed in Parliament, he said.

“Every legislature is empowered by law to impose its own rules,” said Jacobs.

Deputy provincial speaker Uhuru Moiloa said they could “not allow anarchy to happen” by allowing any members to behave inappropriately by not sticking to the Guateng legislature’s rules and regulations.

“The gimmicks of the EFF are an attempt to divert the legislature…Today was a waste of the nation’s time,” he said.

Mekgwe shared her thoughts on the EFF’s red overalls, saying “this is not a garden”.

Speaker in the Gauteng Legislature Ntombi Mekgwe addresses a press briefing on the removal of EFF members from the legislature during a sitting in Johannesburg.
Speaker in the Gauteng Legislature Ntombi Mekgwe addresses a press briefing on the removal of EFF members from the legislature during a sitting in Johannesburg.

She added that the legislature was a noble house and as such required appropriate dress code.

She said “minimal force” had to be used to remove the two members.

Mekgwe claimed she did not see any excessive force being used, she only saw one of the EFF members hitting a female security personnel with a “hot klap” during their eviction. She said this violence would be dealt with.

Mekgwe said during the two week orientation that all MPLs were taken through earlier this year, the standing rules outlined matters of conduct and participation in the legislature and the EFF members had failed to abide by those rules.

The EFF MPLs have not been expelled from legislature, however Mekgwe said the members would just need to dress appropriately to be allowed back into legislature in the coming days.

Maotwe said the provincial branch of the EFF would be consulting “head office and will take the matter from there”.

Late yesterday Mekgwe said the integrity commissioner would investigate the incident.

“We are referring the matter to the integrity commission. They will advise us on how to move forward,” Mekgwe said.

Gauteng police spokesperson Leutenant-Colonel Lungelo Dlamini said he would respond to the allegations only once a case had been opened.

 

Coverage of parties, poll topics

NOTE: Article first appeared in The Citizen newspaper on May 6, 2014. 

The top three topics covered in the media during the election campaigns were, election campaigning, party politics and corruption – with a particular preoccupation with the Nkandla saga.

In contrast, the top three marginalised topics were: voter education, election results and election funding, Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) said in an interim report on media coverage about the elections released yesterday.

According to MMA, of the 50 media outlets covered over a seven-week period, 85% of all their coverage focused on five “big” parties, namely and in order: the ANC, DA, Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), Agang South Africa and Congress of the People. This left 24 parties a tiny share of 15% of all coverage.

MMA director William Bird said in Rosebank, Johannesburg, it was also found that the biggest cities received the most coverage, with smaller areas and smaller parties being left out of the loop. The voices most largely represented were President Jacob Zuma (ANC), Juluis Malema (EFF), Helen Zille and Mmusi Maimane (both DA).

Looking at the overall range of coverage, MMA found that only 15% of all coverage was biased.

Malema ‘will go to parliament’

Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema is seen addressing supporters during a march to the SABC's head office in Johannesburg on Tuesday, 29 April 2014 over its refusal to air an Economic Freedom Fighters' television election commercial. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA
Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema is seen addressing supporters during a march to the SABC’s head office in Johannesburg on Tuesday, 29 April 2014 over its refusal to air an Economic Freedom Fighters’ television election commercial. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA

NOTE: Article first appeared in The Citizen on May 5, 2014. 

Economic Freedom Fighters “commander-in-chief” Julius Malema told a rally in Atteridgeville yesterday that he intends to go to Parliament to “deliver the best of the best” to all South Africans.

He was the keynote speaker at the Tshela Tupa (“Crack the Whip”) rally – his last opportunity to campaign before election day on Wednesday.

The almost 30 000 strong crowd went wild when Malema made his grand entrance. Led by bikers, he greeted the crowd while walking around the track.

Before he addressed the crowd, Dali Mpofu, Gauteng premier candidate for the EFF, led a demonstration of how e-tolls would be “destroyed physically” – an EFF campaign promise. Using hammers, party supporters in red jumpsuits laid into a white structure labelled “e-toll”.

“Any future without EFF is suffering,” Malema told the crowd.

His organisation would be around for the next 100 years, he said, and would be “handed down from one generation to the next”.

The EFF is “inspiring the hopeless masses of people”, he continued. He reiterated promises of increased minimum wages, compulsory free education and land expropriation without compensation. “You will own those farms after the 7th of May,” he said.

He said that the EFF was asking voters for “five years” to make a difference.

Apparently addressing remarks made by City Press editor Ferial Haffajee, he explained how way grants would work under EFF policies.

“We will take out the middle man (the South African Social Grants Agency)… That money will be added on top of our credits. The second money is going to come from politicians.” Money that would otherwise have been used to buy politicians cars would be given as grants to children and the elderly, he said.

Politicians should buy their own cars and houses and finance their own credit cards. They earn a salary and they “should use it”, he said.

EFF will leave Wits’ Senate House ‘when recognised’

NOTE: Article first appeared in The Citizen newspaper on April 4, 2014. 

EFF-Senate-house-602x379
Students of the Wits EFF branch occupy the 11th floor Senate Room, Wits University yesterday. The students are demanding recognition as an official university club. Picture: Tracy Lee Stark.

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) Wits entered their second day of occupation on the 11th floor of the Senate House building at Wits University in Johannesburg yesterday. 

The student branch of the EFF on Wednesday occupied vice-chancellor Adam Habib’s office in protest against its lack of recognition by the university as a society.

Security moved the EFF members from the office the following morning, which is when they relocated to the Senate House, with a constant security presence.

Habib said the security measures were put in place as “a precaution to ensure that the occupation doesn’t get out of hand”.

Vuyani Pambo, EFF Wits chairperson, said the occupation would only come to an end once the EFF’s Wits group was recognised as a university society on campus.

“”Every day that passes frustrates our political programme,” he said.

The EFF had followed all the right channels and had interacted with both the SRC and the dean of student affiars, Pamela Dube, on various occasions, yet their application was still rejected, he said.

Reports have indicated that the EFF was not registered because they submitted their application late to the SRC.

“These are lies. This is a tactic,” said Pambo.

He said that the group went into action when they discovered that their application would have to wait until next year.

Habib said the university intended to launch an investigation into the matter, which would be completed today.

On the indefinite period of the occupation, Habib said that students are “free to occupy any public space, as long as they obey the rules”.

However, he added that the EFF group were being unreasonable” as their gripe was with the SRC, and not him.

Habib was away in Pretoria when the students took over his office. He initially engaged with them publically during their occupation of his office live on twitter. Their hashtag #EFFoccupation has gained traction on the social media site.

Pambo said that their “soft radical action” would escalate if the university didn’t engage them today or at latest on Monday.

 

 

New contender in the arena

Third year law student, Zareef Minty, is the national youth president for businessmen Kenny Kunene and Gayton McKenzie’s new political party, the Patriotic Alliance (PA).

The slight looking 20-year-old Minty, who is also a fashion designer said the PA was youth-centred and had a strong focus on giving second chances to the reformed, like two of its own founders.

Second chances and new alliances

“If Nelson Mandela could have that chance to be reformed (sic) coming out of jail and having an opportunity, then we should allow Kunene and Gayton to have the same thing.

UGGLING: National youth president for the Patriotic Alliance, Zareef Minty, explains how he manages between being a law student, political figure, fashion designer and author.                                                                         Photo: Pheladi Sethusa
JUGGLING: National youth president for the Patriotic Alliance, Zareef Minty, explains how he manages between being a law student, political figure, fashion designer and author. Photo: Pheladi Sethusa

“In the same way a student has been charged with something should be allowed to have a future as well,”  said Minty.

“Ex-cons” Gayton McKenzie, president of the PA and general secretary Kenny Kunene, met each other in jail and following their release in 2003, became business partners.

Minty met the two through his clothing line partnership, after Kunene was asked to be an ambassador for Minty’s own fashion label, Self Made Billionaire (SMB). “Kunene liked the idea of an up and coming clothing brand worn by celebrities,” said Minty.

Youth-centric

He said the party also included more young people in its decision-making. He said four of the party’s 12-member national executive committee were under the age of 25.

“We are the only party out there who allows youth to have a platform in the NEC. The ANC and the Democratic Alliance has a separate Youth League so you don’t get young people in parliament,” he said.

Minty is sixth on the PA’s parlimentary list, which means if they manage to get six seats after the national elections this year, he could be sitting in parliament and not in stuffy lecture rooms.

The party’s focus on the youth and a “practical approach” to politics are what Minty believes will make the PA “a better alternative to the ANC”, which he said was policy heavy with little to no implementation thereof.

He believes that PA would be able to relate mostly to the born-frees because it was a party that did not  have any “baggage”.

Campaign trail

The PA’s campaign trail on campus has come with its own set of issues, “Until we have permission to be a club or society on campus we can’t really go out in a group and recruit people. We have been working by going person to person, trying to get them to join,” he said.

The PA, often referred to as the “coloured” or “gangster party”, was founded in Paarl in the Western Cape three months ago and plans to contest in the upcoming elections.

Minty said they have a good chance of having up to six seats in parliament after this year’s elections.

Minty is treasurer of the Wits Law Students’ Counsel and the chairperson of the Student Discipline Committee, which influenced his alignment with the PA and their belief in reforming and empowering the previously charged.

Before the PA, he was part of the ANC Youth League on campus where he took up position as treasurer but the PA presented him with an opportunity for national leadership

Along with the multitude of things Minty has on his plate this year, he plans to publish a motivational book, Empireby March.  Let’s watch this space.

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VIDEO VOX: What are Witsies voting for?

SRC elections officially began yesterday. A steady stream of students entered the tents set up on Main campus throughout the day. It was a different story at Education campus. Wits Vuvuzela went out in search of potential voters to find out what they were looking for from the new leadership they would help to elect.

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Who will get your vote?

Pheladi Sethusa, a second year Media Studies student, attended a local government elections debate held by the Wits Politics Department on East Campus today. She presents a report on the positions put forward by three representatives from the ANC, the DA and COPE.

The topic up for debate was the local municipal elections, which will be upon us in a matter of hours now. There was quite a large turnout. I suspect with the elections a matter of hours away people are desperate to gain as much insight into the various parties so as to cast a vote that will both benefit them and make a difference.

ANC11-300x200The first party to have their say was of course the African National Congress (ANC). Godfrey Madja, a representative of the Wits ANC Youth League, opened his speech with the classic “Amandla-Viva” chant to which the ANC supporters in the crowd responded positively. He spoke for eight minutes in what turned out to be a speech on ANC policy. He made the point that the ANC, unlike other parties, does not have a “cut and paste manifesto, but it has a historical policy”. He went on to speak about how the ANC will and is already implementing programmes for the creation of jobs, education and training programmes, health etc. Everything he had to say was related to what we have all heard President Zuma talk about in his addresses.

Next up was a representative from the Democratic Alliance (DA), Mohammad Sayanvala. For the first time in a speech about the DA, I heard about their manifesto and not just a speech that berates the ruling party. The DA’s policy platform is to create opportunities for all in society and to deliver to all. He emphasized that the DA rebukes the “jobs for pals” system that seems popular within the ruling party. The DA aims to award tenders and other such opportunities to the most qualified applicants irrespective of their race. Mohammad ended off on a strong note, saying that “the DA is no longer just an opposition party but a party of governance”.

The last representative was a young lady from the Congress of the People (COPE), Mukondeli Mphigalele. Her main argument was that people should not dismiss COPE as a joke of a party, as they NewDALogoResized-229x300are merely trying to fight for their rights like everyone else. She went on to comment on members who recently left the party and went back to the ANC as people who are clearly “capable of vomiting and once done, being able to eat that vomit”. This remark had the audience in stitches. There was no talk of policy and empty promises, merely the acknowledgement that the time for blind loyalty was over and that voters need to now vote for their own interests.

Then the floor was opened up for questions to the representatives. The first was a young black man who asked how the parties planned on putting a person like himself, who was born disadvantaged, on equal footing with a person who was born advantaged. Mohammad answered that “the DA will eradicate the legacies of Apartheid by creating opportunities for all”. The ANC rep Godfrey said: “We all need to remember that our democracy is only 17 years old. It did not take the apartheid government 17 years to marginalise us, so it cannot take us 17 years to eradicate all inequalities”. The COPE rep shied away from this question.

Another interesting question was why public servants like Helen Zille and our President do not make use of the public services they promote like public transport. The DA rep vouched for Zille saying she frequents public transport and the COPE rep followed in that vain. Godfrey said “as an ex-MK member and a public figure, President Zuma cannot travel with public transport for safety reasons. You forget that the AWB and people in Orania are still planning things and ready to attack”, ushering in another roar of laughter from the crowd. Most of the questions asked were left unanswered as we ran out of time.

CopyLogoNovember15-300x225I went into the debate thinking the ANC was the scum of the earth, the DA was merely the jealous middle child who wanted a chance in the spotlight and I honestly had no feelings about COPE. Unfortunately the latter has not changed. The COPE rep was not as convincing as she could have been. As for the DA I think they fail to point out how they plan to do the things they say they will. For instance, their response on affirmative action left the person who asked the question still wanting. The ANC appealed most to me in that the representative answered all questions posed effectively. If there was a winner, he would be it.

However, I am still not willing to be complacent in voting for the ANC or the DA. Neither parties proposed changes that met my immediate needs and neither were willing to offer evidence conducive to these planned changes of theirs. It is one thing to look fantastic on paper, but as we are all very aware, delivering on those promises is the number one problem.

**NOTE: Post first appeared on exPress imPress on May 17 2014.