Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema has expressed utter disappointment and came down hard on his party’s Eastern Cape elective conference delegates for electing an all-male top five provincial party leadership positions.
“I want to tell you standing here. I am not proud of this top five because I will not be proud of anything that does not have women in it,” he said.
Malema was speaking at the party’s Eastern Cape installation of the 3rd Provincial Peoples’ Assembly in ABSA Stadium, East London, Eastern Cape, on Sunday.
“So in your first task as delegates… you have completely failed to fulfil your mission, and that mission is a mission to make sure that in everything else we do, we put women,” he said.
Malema opened up his rebuke by detailing how the people of the province did not care who was elected to top leadership position, but wanted those elected to bring solutions to their struggles.
He said top on the people’s minds was how the elected leadership was going to restore their dignity.
“They are looking at this conference to give them life. What does this conference… do? It elects the top five of males only and still think you are the solution…
“There is no solution in SA without women in the centre of that development… At the centre of everything we are doing. What type of leaders and delegates are we?”, Malema said.
He asked what type of women came together in a conference, over 50% of them, and did not elect a single woman in the top five of the party’s provincial leadership.
Malema said women were the most vulnerable in society and the conference, by electing an all-male leadership, was suggesting that these men were going to solve the problems of women, without women.
“Are you saying women are not capable enough to make solutions to their own problems? I want to tell you standing here… It is a failure to all of you, it is a disrespect from all of you to the women of Eastern Cape, to the women of SA in this tent and outside there,” he charged.
Malema lamented that this was what factionalism does to an organisation, imploring delegates to adhere to the principles, ideals and constitution of the party.
He said EFF teaches “you that fundamentally we need women in our struggle. [Thomas] Sankara told us clearly that we will never be free for as long as women are not free”.
The fiery leader said it was pointless to march and shout anti-gender-based violence and pro-women development while failing to grasp an opportunity to practically make a difference.
“When we are given an opportunity to ourselves to demonstrate to society how committed we are to this cause of liberating women, we do not grab that opportunity with both hands. We leave it to whatever wisdom will produce,” Malema said.
He also lamented that the only female chairperson the party had in the Free State had been removed, saying this means there was a possibility that no province would have a female leader in the party’s provincial structures.
“The possibility is that we may have all provinces of EFF in SA (EFF) led by men. We cannot be proud as the EFF.
“Women are equal to men. Anyone who doubts the leadership of women, that person does not believe in humanity,” Malema said.
He warned delegates against replacing a tendency of undermining women by not empowering them, adding that he was not interested in anyone’s battle but the image of the EFF.