AFRICANGLOBE – South Africa’s Economic Freedom Fighters party, led by the charismatic political figure Julius Malema, has spawned a sister party in neighbouring Namibia, officials of the new group said yesterday.
The Namibia Economic Freedom Fighters (NEFF) would be a “radical left” and anti-imperialist movement, said businessman-turned-politician Epafras Mukwiilongo.
Mukwiilongo, who styles himself “commander-in-chief” of the NEFF in emulation of Malema’s title in South Africa, said the new party would be registered soon and would compete in national elections in December.
The policies of Malema’s EFF, which won 25 seats in South Africa’s parliament in the May elections, include the nationalisation of mines and banks and the reclamation of South African land stolen by settlers without compensation.
Namibia’s Mukwiilongo has previously been a member of both the ruling Swapo party and the opposition Congress of Democrats in the southwest African country.
He and his deputy, former opposition youth leader Kalimbo Iipumbu, arrived in the Namibian capital Windhoek from South Africa on Tuesday, where they said they had talks with Malema.
The two men were wearing red outfits and red berets similar to those worn by the South African EFF, but with an NEFF logo.
They were welcomed at the airport by around 25 people, who wore branded T-shirts and berets.
Mukwiilongo said the creation of the NEFF was the “birth of a giant” that would fight for economic freedom and accused the Swapo-led Namibian government of favouring “capitalist interests” at the expense of the citizens.
“We are a very rich country that can take care of itself if the government ensures industrialisation and processing of our minerals in Namibia,” Mukwiilongo said.
Mukwiilongo said his party would also target homosexuality, claiming to have received some US$250 000 in funding from “international anti-homosexual organisations” during a visit to Uganda last week.
“Today, the imperialists are manipulating/influencing our nation through homosexual practices,” Mukwiilongo said.
“The NEFF is committed to uniting all Namibians to root out this evil practice.”
A spokesperson for the EFF in South Africa declined immediate comment on the Namibian development, saying the party would issue a statement later yesterday.
Meanwhile, South Africa’s White opposition parties have reacted with shock after EFF leader Julius Malema was included as a new member of the Judicial Services Commission, which is responsible for appointing the country’s judges.
Malema was appointed as one of the 10 new members of the JSC, along with former ANC Chief Whip Mathole Motshekga and former Cabinet minister Thoko Didiza.
Others elected to the JSC are the DA’s Hendrik Schmidt, the IFP’s Narend Singh and the ANC’s Dikeledi Magadzi.
Members of the National Council of Provinces who will serve on the JSC include the ANC’s Thandi Modise, Tsapane Mampuru, Dikgang Stock and Dumisane Ximbi.
The JSC is responsible for interviewing judges and making recommendations to President Jacob Zuma on judicial appointments. It also handles complaints against judges.
According to Beeld, Malema’s appointment was greeted with surprise because he has been charged with corruption, money laundering and racketeering. He is due to return to court in September.
FF+ Chief Whip Corné Mulder described Malema’s appointment as “outrageous”, saying JSC members should understand the judicial process, not have several cases pending against them.
A DA MP said the party hoped Malema would render his duties in the JSC in the interests of an independent judiciary.
However, an ANC spokesperson told Beeld that the party has no objections as Malema is an MP and may represent Parliament, adding that Malema has not yet been found guilty of any crime.