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Five more years as EFF leader for Julius Malema

EFF leader Julius Malema addresses delegates at the party's conference on Saturday. Malema was later elected unopposed as party leader for another five years.
EFF leader Julius Malema addresses delegates at the party's conference on Saturday. Malema was later elected unopposed as party leader for another five years.

Julius Malema will lead the EFF for at least the next five years.

Malema, who founded the party in 2013 after his expulsion from the ANC, was elected unopposed to the position of president late on Saturday night.

His deputy, Floyd Shivambu, was also re-elected into the post - but not after a scare when advocate Dali Mpofu was nominated. However, Mpofu didn't make the threshold after accepting the nomination.

Earlier, the EFF confessed that it faced death should Malema be arrested on any of the charges he currently faces.

Both Malema and Gordrich Gardee - who was secretary-general until he was replaced by Marshall Dlamini - made presentation reports to delegates at the EFF's second conference, known as the National People's Assembly (NPA), on Saturday.

Malema was the first to warn that the party should have people who were capable to succeed him or risk the organisation dying in a similar manner to how the Pan Africanist Congress died after its leader, Robert Sobukwe, was arrested by the apartheid regime.

"When the apartheid regime isolated and banished Robert Sobukwe, they knew that those who remained in the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) had no capacity to lead a militant mass organisation that was founded by Robert Sobukwe, irrespective of the progressive ideas of the PAC. As a result, the PAC has struggled to exist beyond Robert Sobukwe," said Malema.

He was speaking about the importance of leadership in the EFF.

"You can develop the best policies and adopt the most progressive of resolutions, but if you compromise yourself in choosing lazy leaders who think leadership positions are a status, all those policies and resolutions will amount to nothing," he said.

But in his organisational report, Gardee was more explicit and referred to the Malema's current legal troubles.

"It is clear that there is a co-ordinated effort to have the CIC [Malema] constantly appearing in court or, worse, behind bars and thus uprooted from the groundwork of building a formidable alternative political movement for the total economic emancipation of our people.

"The NPA should take important lessons on the history of the PAC and what happened to it following the imprisonment of its leader Robert Sobukwe. Should the state one day achieve its arrest of the CIC … even for a few years, our organisation will draw backward and become what the PAC became once the apartheid state put Robert Sobukwe behind bars," said Gardee.

He said that when Sobukwe's arrest happened, the PAC was still in its formations stages, just like the EFF is currently.

These statements could be read to mean that EFF top brass envisages Malema to stay as party president for decades to come.

"With all the above threats, we remain unshaken and confident that our CIC will triumph over all charges, which are mainly meant to personally persecute him and discourage his passion for our revolution," he said.

Malema is currently frequenting court over his agitation of EFF supporters to occupy privately-owned land that is not occupied.

In this regard, he faces two separate charges, in KwaZulu-Natal and the Free State, for violating sections of the Riotous Assemblies Act.

More recently, Malema appeared in courts for two other serious alleged offences. These are discharging a firearm in public during an EFF rally in East London last year and, alongside national spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, assault after the pair had an altercation with security personnel during Winnie Madikizela-Mandela's funeral.

But Malema potentially faces more serious charges dating back to when he was ANC Youth League president over the activities of his family trust, the Ratanang Family Trust, which has a shareholding in On Point Engineering.

Individuals involved in On Point Engineering are going back to court after the National Prosecuting Authority decided to reinstate charges against them which relate to allegation of the looting public funds in Limpopo.

Malema was initially charged in the case, but the NPA has publicly said it would not pursue charges against him until it proves its case against those currently charged. However, it said it may open an investigation against him.

The freshest onslaught against Malema, which may also eventually go to court, relates to the looting of the poor people's savings in the now defunct VBS Mutual Bank.