The honeymoon may be over for the ruling African National Congress if the words that are being attributed to the leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters, Julius Malema are anything to go by. According to the local media, Malema is said to have encouraged the expelled General Secretary of the Congress of South African Trade Unions, Zwelinzima Vavi and the Secretary General of the expelled National Union of Metalworkers, Irvin Jim to form a Union to represent workers instead of attempting to form a political party as they are rumoured to have done.
Malema was speaking as he addressed workers at a May Day rally in Motherwell in Port Elizabeth, which was attended by close to 7 000 EFF supporters. He called on the two leaders to work hard to form a workers union that his party would work with in an attempt to rival the relationship that exists between the ruling ANC and COSATU. He said there was no need for the two leaders to form a political party to represent workers as that already existed in the form of the EFF, adding that what was needed was a union to represent the workers that were in the EFF. “Because a political party for workers is here. It’s called the EFF. They must form a union. We will give them workers. We have workers in the EFF who don’t have a union. They must be a federation that’s not aligned to any political party, but aligned to workers alone,” said Malema.
Malema also told the rally that his party did not believe that they should tell the workers which party they should vote for but rather that the EFF should earn the votes of the workers who were not stupid and could make their own decisions about who to vote for. Malema also called on the leader of AMCU, Joseph Mathunjwa to join hands with Vavi and Jim in forming the real workers’ federation that would rival ANC-aligned COSATU.
Responding to Malema’s utterances, the leader of NUMSA, Irvin Jim said that the decision on whether they would form an alliance with the EFF and not form a political party was open to debate but said this was up to the United Front, adding that it was not up to Malema to say whether or not the workers should form a political party. He said this would be decided when the United Front launches in June. “But definitely, the EFF has taken a political posture that is not hostile to the working class,” Jim said in conclusion.