Malema and Shivambu pour cold water on fractured relations
EFF leader Julius Malema and his deputy Floyd Shivambu have denied that their long-time relationship is on a decline.
This despite strange comments that Malema made about Shivambu leading up to the party’s 10th anniversary celebrations at the FNB Stadium at the weekend.
But the two vowed that their bond would never be broken, regardless of who tried to come between them.
They addressed a media briefing at the party’s headquarters in Gandhi Square, Johannesburg on Wednesday.
Shivambu said there were attempts from within ANC ranks to come between him and Malema.
But, he said, it was doubtful that anyone within the governing party had the “sophistication” to master a divide and conquer between the EFF founders.
Questions over the relationship between the two came into sharp focus during a gala dinner leading up to weekend celebrations.
At the dinner, it was Malema who randomly spoke of the 15-year-old bond between him and Shivambu, which he married with the succession debate within the EFF.
After singing Shivambu’s praises, Malema went on to warn that when his second-in-command believes he has overstayed his welcome as EFF leader, he should be straightforward.
“I am very ruthless against those who plot against me,” he said at the event that gave life to the Emperor’s Palace last Thursday.
On Wednesday, Malema said his comments were made in jest because he did not mean what he was saying, noting that Shivambu understood this.
According to the EFF leader, his and Shivambu’s relationship is so close he had told his son that should he die, he should discuss funeral arrangements with Shivambu.
“In the past 10 years, there has never been anything which suggests that me and Floyd have fundamental differences,” said Malema.
“We disagree on the approach here and there, and even fight [but it ends there] … there are clowns here in the EFF who think we are nothing without them.
“Me and Floyd will never differ to a point of no return, that is what the enemy is wishing for. I told my son that if I die, you must consult uncle Floyd, so that you guys can work together in consultation with your mother.”
Shivambu backed Malema and added that the ANC’s wish to inflict an EFF split by driving a wedge between its two top leaders was wishful thinking.
In Shivambu’s view, only EFF leaders and members can break the party apart, no one from outside.
Said Shivambu: “You make reference to a speech made by Fikile Mbalula … With due respect, people like Mbalula do not have the capabilities to conceptualize anything.”
He said Mbalula led the ANC Youth League (ANCYL) for much longer than he and Malema, but there is no single reference to what Mbalula stood for.
“If you want to divide an organisation [like the EFF], you need a level of sophistication, but there is no one that sophisticated from the ANC who can confuse the EFF.
“I resigned from the ANC purposefully, why would I want to be associated with the ANC?”
Shivambu said there is no way he could move away from Malema now when he did not do so when the EFF leader was ridiculed for lacking a post-matric qualification during his ANCYL days.
“Remember, when we started the EFF [10 years ago], they were saying he is uneducated, he is facing corruption charges, but I said to him let us start this organisation to represent a generational mission.
“There were far more compelling reasons at the formative stages of the EFF not to associate with the EFF president than there are now.”
He said Malema had gone to school, achieved a lot, and led a successful organisation.
“What level of madness would that be to move away from him? There will never be any differences that could split the organisation in terms of what we seek to achieve.”
The struggle the duo is engaged in, Shivambu added, is not about them but an entire generation, and it matters little who occupies what position.
“Why would anyone want to destroy such an organisation for selfish purposes, because you want to occupy a certain position?” he asked.
“It is wedge drivers trying to destroy the EFF, but they need to be more sophisticated. There was no one outside the EFF who was sophisticated enough to divide the EFF.
“We can divide them ourselves from here, because we are far more superior than all those clowns in the ANC.”