South Africa 10.10.2018 04:58 pm

Rivals BLF and EFF compete to bring down the patriarchy

FILE PICTURE: Former EFF member, Andile Mngxitama speaks to media in Sandton, Johannesburg, 17 February 2015, at an EFF faction briefing. Picture Nigel Sibanda

FILE PICTURE: Former EFF member, Andile Mngxitama speaks to media in Sandton, Johannesburg, 17 February 2015, at an EFF faction briefing. Picture Nigel Sibanda

The two rival factions of SA’s radical far left both chose today to affirm their support for SA women.

Both the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and Black First, Land First (BLF) affirmed their support for feminist causes on Wednesday.

BLF leader Andile Mngxitama delivered a public lecture on Wednesday, the topic of which was “Critical reflection on land & role played by Patriarchy as a sociatal (sic) ill.”

The EFF, meanwhile, held a political induction session for its Gauteng leadership, with the party saying he made comments “emphasising [the EFF’s] aim to oppose patriarchy, sexism, homophobia and any discriminatory practices that promote the oppression of anyone, women in particular.”

Perhaps ironically, both addresses on the importance of addressing patriarchy in SA society were delivered by men, EFF leader Julius Malema and BLF leader Andile Mngxitama.

READ MORE: Female EFF members accuse Malema of lying with his Women’s Day promises

The EFF have asserted their support for women’s rights before, but a statement released in August on behalf of disgruntled junior EFF member Maggie Klaas (32), Seitebogeng Nkitseng, an EFF member of North West’s provincial legislature, said that EFF leader Julius Malema was not walking the talk when it came to his comments on the abuse of women.

The Citizen reported at the time that the statement alleged that EFF member Maggie Klaas had been assaulted by a senior EFF member.

The BLF, meanwhile say their “constitution mandates the 50% of the seats in both the NCC and it’s subcommittee, the Central Committee (CC), be occupied by women.”

The two parties are known for their animosity towards each other, which has manifested in various ways.

The BLF has consistently claimed that the EFF changed its “revolutionary” ways after their 2015 visit to London, where they had a meeting with Lord Robin Renwick.

The EFF’s decision to vote with the DA, which led to the ANC being ousted in key municipalities such as Johannesburg, Tshwane (where the EFF has since turned against the DA and their mayor Solly Msimanga) and Nelson Mandela Bay (where the EFF has since switched to side with the ANC, leading to the removal of DA mayor Atholl Trollip), led to the BLF coming up with the hashtag #EFFSoldOut.

EFF leader Julius Malema responded by calling BLF a “curry-first” movement, implying the BLF is funded by the controversial Gupta family to delegitimise the EFF.

READ MORE: BLF to lay charges against ‘criminal’ EFF funder Mazzotti

The BLF announced in July that they were laying criminal charges against alleged cigarette smuggler Adriano Mazzotti, who is believed to be an EFF funder,

The rivalry between the two parties dates back to when BLF president Andile Mngxitama was, for a brief period, a prominent member of the EFF.

After the EFF’s first elective conference, Mngxitama and other disillusioned EFF MPs, such as then national organiser Mpho Ramakatsa, fell out with the EFF, eventually being booted out of the party, after which BLF was formed.

While the two parties are undoubtedly enemies, though, there is a marked difference in their level of support, with the EFF having risen to become the third biggest party in South Africa in a relatively short period of time and the BLF still seem to be operating to a large extent on the fringes of the SA political landscape.

READ MORE: Mngxitama hits out at SAHRC’s attempts to ‘ban’ the BLF

The EFF earned six percent of the vote in the last SA election, with some analysts suggesting that this share in the electorate could rise sharply in 2019.

The Institute of Race Relations released a survey recently stating that the EFF could shave off 10% of support from the ANC by next year’s elections.

The BLF, on the other hand, have not yet contested elections, but plan to do so in 2019, with the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) confirming that they have indeed registered to do so.

But if the SA Human Rights Commission has their way they never will – they have asked the IEC to review the party’s eligibility as a party given their “frequent violent threats to white people”.

The SAHRC believes the BLF’s “statements violate the Electoral Act”.

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