In keeping with the requirements of parliament and with what the other parties like the ANC and DA have done, the newest party on the South African political front, the Economic Freedom Fighters, have announced the leadership structure for parliament. This list was announced by Malema on Sunday and it covers both the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces.
The Economic Freedom Fighters, contesting in their first elections since the party’s inception, managed to garner well over one million votes, meaning that the party is entitled to twenty five seats in the House. They also have six representatives in the National Council of Provinces.
Malema said that the party leadership had met and decided on him to be the leader of the party in parliament. Malema is the president of the national structure of the party, otherwise referred to as the Commander in Chief in EFF lingo and his leadership of the parliamentary caucus will ensure continuity into the house. He will most likely ensure that the party’s goals and objectives are carried forward to parliament.
The office of the chief whip comes from the hunting term, ‘whipping in’, which means ensuring that hounds during a hunt do not wander away from the pack. The role of the Chief whip in parliament is to ensure that members of the party vote in accordance with party policy. It effectively means that the chief whip’s role is to ensure that members are in attendance when special votes are taken and that their voting follows party policy. A chief whip will ensure his or her role by both rewards and punishment. According to Malema, the Chief Whip will be the party’s current political commissar, Nyiko Floyd Shivambu. Floyd brings to this new role a lot of experience as he was the policy coordinator of the Chris Hani Institute between 2007 and 2008. Furthermore, in 2007, he was a researcher and policy coordinator of the South African Communist Party, a member of the tripartite alliance with the ANC. Julius Malema also introduced Hlengiwe Hlophe and Godrich Gardee as whips that will work with Shivambu. Both Hlophe and Gardee are listed in the Economic Freedom Fighters Central Command structures as the members responsible for social development and elections coordination respectively.
Malema also announced that in the National Council of Provinces, in which his party has six representatives, Tebogo Mokwele will act as whip there. Mokwele is listed in the central command of the party as the member responsible for infrastructure. The National Council of Provinces (NCOP) is the one of the two parliamentary houses and its specific role is to ensure that provincial interests are taken care of fairly and equally. Each of the nine provinces is equally represented with ten representatives.
After announcing the parliamentary leaders of his party, Malema went straight to the business of his party’s going into parliament. He stated categorically that his party would table a motion that parliament should be involved in the strike that has paralysed the economy in the mining sector. The workers in platinum mines have been on strike since January, demanding salaries of R12 500, which the mining bosses insist will be unsustainable.