‘It was just a symbol’ — axed EFF Merafong chief whip on ANC/EFF T-shirt swap blunder

ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula is in the spotlight over an EFF T-shirt drama in Merafong. Photo: Gallo Images/Luba Lesolle
ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula is in the spotlight over an EFF T-shirt drama in Merafong. Photo: Gallo Images/Luba Lesolle
Image: Lubabalo Lesolle

What was supposed to be a proud “homecoming” for some EFF members to the ANC in Merafong in Johannesburg at the weekend has been labelled a “grand election stunt”. 

ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula planned to welcome expelled EFF members in Merafong on Sunday at the Wedela community hall, but things did not all go smoothly.

Videos of people grabbing EFF T-shirts from a private car outside the hall started trending on social media. The “homecoming” was described as an election stunt with Mbalula in the hot seat. 

Axed EFF Merafong council chief whip Sarah Mmami Ahmed Khan said the wearing of T-shirts was supposed to be a symbol of EFF members “returning to their roots”.

Khan was among three Merafong councillors recently expelled from the party after failing to hire busses for the EFF's 10th anniversary in FNB Stadium in July.

Khan rejected the “homecoming” was a stunt as some people suggested after the videos trended on social media. 

“The issue of the T-shirts was just a symbol to show we are leaving a party that has long oppressed us as women. I felt it is fair that as much as they fired us, they saw we had gone back home,” she said.

Asked why she failed to hire busses, which was supposed to be through fundraising, Khan said she could not afford it.

“I was told to get a car, after that I was told to get a van. I am a single mother of four and my husband recently passed on. I am looking after my own family.

“When the EFF said I must go, it felt painful but I rejoiced. I decided why not go back to my roots where I was born, fed, bred until this age. I am happy where I am now, nobody forced me. It is my own decision,” she said. 

Another former EFF councillor Khayalakhe Nabiso gave the same reason as Khan.

“I was an EFF PR councillor from 2016. I worked for the EFF but things did not go well,” he said. 

“We had to pay for the transport and that financially pressed us. We were ill-treated even by the secretary of the region. When they decided we should be expelled from the party we saw it fit to return home. We have gone back home with the people we are leading.”

Nabiso and Khan were among 63 EFF members recalled and later expelled for failing to hire busses for the birthday celebrations.



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