The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has reported that former members of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) have formed a new political party called the African Federal Convention (Afco).
The party reportedly had a small launch at the Sunnyside Hotel in Parktown on Wednesday.
EFF leader Julius Malema’s reaction to a tweet from SABC’s current affairs show On Point about the launch of the new party shows a complete and total lack of concern or worry over it.
He replied to the tweet with four laughter emojis and a thumbs up.
The new party is led by Babayi Vusi Mathe, who describes himself as a “co-founder of the EFF”.
When Mathe said this at the party launch, SABC reporter Abongile Dumako responded: “Julius says he doesn’t know you, he just said on Twitter now.”
“Julius knows me,” Mathe claimed, before saying he could name all those within the movement he claimed to know.
These included Black First, Land First leader Andile Mngxitama (who was a member of the EFF before himself breaking away to form his new party), EFF MP Khanyisile Litchfield-Tshabalala, EFF KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) provincial chairperson Vusi Khoza, former EFF treasurer Magdalene Moonsamy (who resigned from the party in 2016), and EFF MP Hlengiwe Hlophe.
“I know them, all of them,” he said.
A Twitter user asked Khoza if he did indeed know Mathe.
“I know him,” Khoza confirmed in a tweet which then made accusations against both Mathe and other members of the new party. Mathe has been contacted for comment and we will update this article with what he says when we receive it.
According to EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu, the new party has been founded by people who claim to be from the EFF but who were formerly members of the African Transformation Movement (ATM).
“The clowns who claim to be defecting from the EFF are actually ATM members who were campaigning for and were candidates of ATM in the 2019 general elections. But the mediocre [SABC News] won’t mention this obvious and available fact,” Shivambu said.
Despite all this noise, Mathe described the party’s launch as a “historical day” for SA.
“This is a day that we’ve been waiting for, it is a historical day in the journey of our country as it heralds the dawn of a new beginning,” Mathe had said earlier at the launch.
“We have heard that desperate call from South Africans who are fed up with the current political order.”
According to the People’s Assembly website, Mathe was the 83rd candidate on the EFF’s election list in 2014, and the 20th candidate on their KZN election list. He was also a councillor in Durban’s ward 93.
(Compiled by Daniel Friedman)