According to a report in The Sowetan, EFF secretary-general Godrich Gardee was accused this week of punching and slapping a young member of the party multiple times.
A scuffle reportedly broke out last week at the party’s headquarters in Braamfontein when Gardee apparently got into an altercation with final-year University of Johannesburg (UJ) BA student Tshepo Goba and former UJ branch leader for the EFF Abednego Mathole, aka Msholozi.
Goba told the publication that he’d simply been trying to calm Gardee down when was unexpectedly attacked.
He said they’d agreed to deal with the matter “politically” and not go to the cops.
Goba detailed the incident in a Facebook post this week, in which he alleged Gardee had sworn at Mathole, telling him to “f**k off” and that he was not welcome at EFF’s headquarters.
It allegedly became physical, with Gardee grabbing Mathole. Senior EFF member Leigh-Ann Mathys also trying to calm the situation and left with Mathole.
Goba said that when he then went to talk to Gardee, “out of nowhere he drops his bag, swings a left fist”. He claimed Gardee then continued to charge him, perhaps thinking he was Mathole.
A witness, Vusi Sowazi, who the Sowetan quotes and who confirmed the incident said: “We tried to restrain Godrich because he [thought he] was attacking Msholozi. Once he noticed that it was Goba, he started charging at him, throwing punches and slapping him,” until he was cornered in a lift.
Mathys confirmed the incident to the paper, without adding comment. Mathole, for his part, appeared cautious to talk about the fight, saying that to do so would be “suicidal”.
The EFF’s communications manager said they weren’t aware of the incident.
Gardee turned 50 in June. EFF leader Julius Malema paid tribute to him by saying he looked very good for his age because “he wants to encourage you to remain young” and congratulated Gardee for continuing to study, even at his age.