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Time to go? Alleged EFF plot to remove Julius Malema as leader ruffles feathers

The South African logo The South African 2021/11/18 Tom Head
TSHWANE, SOUTH AFRICA - NOVEMBER 04: Leader of the opposition Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party Julius Malema makes a speech during a press conference after announcing official results of South African local elections in Tshwane, South Africa on November 04, 2021. (Photo by Shiraaz Mohamed/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images) © Getty TSHWANE, SOUTH AFRICA - NOVEMBER 04: Leader of the opposition Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party Julius Malema makes a speech during a press conference after announcing official results of South African local elections in Tshwane, South Africa on November 04, 2021. (Photo by Shiraaz Mohamed/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Senior figures within the EFF have quickly moved to dismiss rumours that some branches are dissatisfied with the leadership of Julius Malema – after an internal party letter allegedly called on the 40-year-old to resign from his post.

Do EFF members want rid of Julius Malema?

Julius Malema has led the EFF for its entire eight-year existence – but 2021 proved to be the first election year where they failed to build support, falling marginally short of the vote share they took in 2019.

Earlier this week, a letter purportedly drafted by the chairman of the EFF in the Eastern Cape put the cat amongst the pigeons. The supposed statement blasted Julius Malema for ‘eroding the progress’ made by the Red Berets in the past few years, and claimed that Juju was hurting with his pro-Zuma views and ‘attacks on the judiciary’.

“Based on the assessment of our local government electoral outcomes, the EFF Eastern Cape Provincial Command Team convened to take stock of our performance. Part of this assessment included our view of the CIC’s role in eroding the electoral margins of our movement. [Julius Malema] is hurting the EFF.”

Alleged statement from EFF Eastern Cape Provincial Command Team

EFF seniors reject alleged plot to oust Julius Malema

However, the back-tracking and distancing has begun in earnest. Yazini Tetyana, the EFF’s Eastern Cape Chairperson, has rubbished the letter as ‘fake’, saying it is a ‘desperate attempt’ by political opponents to sow divisions.

“FAKE ALERT! This is Statement is fake. We dismiss all this content with contempt. A desperate attempt by enemy forces. So enjoy the show… it’s fake news, nizithanda gqithi (you love that very much).”

Yazini Tetyana

How long will Juju remain at the wheel?

Julius Malema himself has previously stated he will walk away from leading the EFF ‘if he is not wanted’. But party support for the political firebrand remains fairly strong. Juju is certain to lead the far-left group into the 2024 Elections.

Meanwhile, Mbuyiseni Ndlozi – a loyal disciple of Malema’s – has also leapt to the defence of the CIC, supporting claims that any plot to oust his boss can be dismissed as ‘fake news’…

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