After Saturday’s speeches at her state funeral at Orlando Stadium, it is understood that late struggle icon Winnie Madikizela-Mandela had wished for the African National Congress and the Economic Freedom Fighters to cooperate or even reunite and bring about a renewal to the ruling party.
Some of the speeches yesterday, in particular ANC chief of staff Fikile Mbalula and ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa’s speeches, often referred to the relationship between the ANC and EFF.
Winnie was mentioned a number of times as the possible unifying force between the two parties, which haven’t always seen eye to eye, but share some political values – the issue of land expropriation – and a history, EFF leader Julius Malema being infamously expelled from the ANC and later founding the EFF.
Mbalula evoked this shared history yesterday in his address: “We will ask [the EFF] to come back home, because you said it yourself that they must come home.”
Ramaphosa also said he had had a conversation with Mam’ Winnie shortly before she died, in which she expressed her desire for unity and renewal, which could be taken to imply unity between the two parties. Tellingly, EFF supporters were initially unwelcoming to the president, but applauded him during the speech.
The Sunday Times reports that EFF and ANC leader have held informal talks after Madikizela-Mandela told them she wished that Malema would either lead a comeback or that the two parties work together in the interest of the nation.
Malema spoke to the Sunday paper after the funeral service, and the EFF said he had spoken to Ramaphosa about the necessary requirements for cooperation between the two parties – as Madikizela-Mandela had apparently desired.
Mbalula and Ramaphosa were seemingly unable to address the crowd without addressing Malema and his party, directly or indirectly, following the fiery speech Malema had given before them.
Malema slammed the ANC for neglecting Madikizela-Mandela after the numerous sacrifices she had made to assist in the struggle for freedom during apartheid.