“The coalition talks will be concluded once the EFF speaks!”
These were the words off EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi at the party’s headquarters in Braamfontein, Johannesburg, last night, where the central command team held a special meeting to receive final report on coalition talks on Monday.
Ndlozi said the EFF was dealing with coalition negotiations in the necessarily “delicate” way. “We have not been hostile,” he said.
“There are many options. The president of the EFF put those on the table at the national results centre,” Ndlozi said. “There is an option of abstaining and there is an option of a re-run. All those options are always on the table.”
The removal of President Jacob Zuma was a non-negotiable condition if the ruling party wished to partner with it.
The EFF is seen as a kingmakers in five key metros, especially in Gauteng, where the ANC and the Democratic Alliance were unable to get 50% or more of the vote as horse-trading hots up before Friday deadline to form councils.
Ndlozi said the removal of Zuma was a long-standing position of the EFF and should not be mistaken as the party’s opportunistic use of its influence in coalition negotiations.
“That’s not a condition for negotiation, that’s a demand of the EFF since Zuma broke the constitution,” Ndlozi said.
“That’s been a constant campaign of the EFF, which we have driven to the Constitutional Court. We’ve been calling for Zuma to step down, not because we are negotiating but because he broke the constitution and the people of South Africa know that position.”
Ndlozi was speaking at the beginning of the EFF Central Command Team’s special meeting in Johannesburg where the party would burn the midnight oil considering the progress report on the coalition discussions with other political parties.
EFF top officials, including party leader Julius Malema and deputy president Floyd Shivhambu, would be leading the meeting.
Ndlozi said the EFF has had an open-door policy from the beginning as to who the party would speak with, denying that the EFF had dismissed any coalition talks with the ANC before the August 3 elections.
“If you see us talk to people do not make conclusions, because we must speak. That is what a democracy constitutes,” Ndlozi said.
“We are no longer speaking from the same ground before the elections, so people are much more willing to drink from your cup, as you will be willing to drink from their cup and taste the waters that are beating in their soul.”
“The national leadership takes a decision [but] we must still meet those people to say this is the decision we have made, and then they express themselves, and that can shift a lot of things,” Ndlozi said.
“It’s a very delicate space politically that everyone finds themselves in, and we are going to deal with the situation in a necessarily delicate way. But be very clear that the EFF is not going to sell its identity to anyone.”
Ndlozi said the EFF would hold a media briefing midday on Wednesday to announce its decision.
Meanwhile, the ANC is said to have reached a deal with the Patriotic Alliance and African Independent Congress in Ekurhuleni.
Ekurhuleni ANC regional chairperson and Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry Mzwandile Masina was not immediately available for comment.