'I left EFF because of public affection'

Kunene says he realised he might be a problem for the party when “the people received him too much”.

Kenny Kunene. Picture: Christa van der Walt/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Controversial businessman Kenny Kunene said he resigned from Julius Malema's Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) because there are people within the party who were "uncomfortable with the way the public accepted him".

Kunene spoke to Talk at 9 about his move from the political arena to the "social space".

Kunene said he realised he might be a problem for the party when "the people received him too much".

"I didn't necessarily outshine Malema, but there were times where it was too much for me to be adored like that. I have a serious following in South Africa and one would be uncomfortable with that. I don't want to go down like Mbhazima Shilowa and Mosiuoa Lekota, so I withdrew my leadership position and membership."

Kunene was elected head of campaigns, mobilisation and special projects a few weeks after joining the party.

Following a brief stint in politics, the businessman has taken on a project where he will help rehabilitate youths in the gang-riddled Cape Flats.

The businessman said, "I've left the EFF, but not politics. Right now I'm focusing on a programme that Gayton McKenzie has started in the Western Cape so for now I remain in the social space as a social activist."

At the same time, the Cape Argus reported on Monday that Kunene jetted into Cape Town last week to meet former Hard Livings gang boss Rashied Staggie at Brandvlei Prison in Worcester.

Staggie, who has been serving a 15-year sentence since 2003 for ordering to have a teenage girl kidnapped and gang-raped, was expected to begin day parole from 29 September.

Kunene affirmed he still stands by his views that President Jacob Zuma is a tyrant and dictator.