Expect more fireworks from the EFF as they increase share in Parliament

PRETORIA — The Economic Freedom Fighters are increasing their share of the seats in Parliament from just over 6% to around 10%. Firebrand leader Julius Malema, a former ANC-member in a distinctive red overall, has increased the temperature in Parliament considerably with debates becoming more contested and has often been ejected. His party targeted former President Jacob Zuma and was probably one of the driving forces for the ANC to adopt plans for land distribution without compensation. The party’s national communications manager Sixolise Gcilishe says they are not planning to let up on their confrontational politics, but are prepared to work with other parties to achieve their goals. – Linda van Tilburg

My name is Sixolise, I’m the National Communications Manager for the Economic Freedom Fighters.

Okay. Looking ahead, you’re going to have more seats in Parliament. How are you going to use that power?

The first thing on our agenda is expropriation of land without compensation. The free quality education is one of the things that we have a chance at. The nationalisation of mines. Those are the things that we’re looking at. We’ll make sure when we’re in parliament that we’re going to use our numbers and our power to make sure that those things are implemented.

So would you vote for the ANC on those issues?

Well, look. If they agree…the processes so far, with the land expropriation without compensation; the ANC voted with the EFF. We were the ones to put the motion forward. We gave an ultimatum. They are the ones who came to the party and were like ‘ this is a necessary thing to do’. That’s why I’m saying that we’ve got non-negotiable pillars. Anything that will make us realise those goals – we’ll go with it.

The previous sessions have been quite disrupted by the EFF. Are you still going to play that role of a disruptive element in Parliament?

I wouldn’t define it as a disruptive role. I would define it as a fight for free quality education. I would define it as a fight for expropriation of land without compensation. It’s not disruptive. It’s not the term or the word I would use to define what we do in Parliament. I think we put up a fight to make sure that the things that we have on our agenda are realised.

The one thing the EFF has done…parliament was pretty boring until you guys came in. So, do you still want these live debates?

I think they’re very crucial for our society. The reason why before us, parliament was not interesting. They weren’t talking to the people. There was no selection in the representation of the people and that’s what we’re seeking to do. That’s what we want to do. We’ll continue being the representative of the people because the reason why they have interest is because they see the way that we represent them. The issues that we’re fighting for are the issues that they’re interested in.

And, in the provinces, are you considering any coalitions?

What the EFF is doing is that we’re not considering coalitions. We want to win but then, if we have to work with other parties, that’s part of democracy. There will be negotiations and like I said, we’ve got demands and if any other political organisation is in agreement with the demands that we put forward, I’m sure we can work with them.

So, some of the councils where you worked with the DA didn’t go really well. Would it work better on provincial level? Are you logically so far removed when it comes to education and schools from the DA, that there won’t be any areas that you would be working together?

I wouldn’t define it as something that didn’t work. It’s the arrogance of the DA to not want the expropriation of land without compensation. We’ve worked with the DA. We’re working with the DA in Johannesburg. We’re working with them with the security guards and those are the things that we’re looking for in our organisation. As long as we agree on the things that we’re interested in (as the EFF), we’ll negotiate and we’ll work with whatever political organisation to make sure that we better the lives of black people.

Thank you very much for that.