EFF nominations for new leaders open tonight

Julius Malema says whoever loses will not be purged from the EFF.

Julius Malema's opening address at EFF assembly. Picture: Vumani Mkhize/EWN.

BLOEMFONTEIN - The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) will tonight face its biggest test of democracy yet when nominations open for new leaders and an election is conducted at its national people's assembly underway in Bloemfontein.

The party officially opened the conference a short while ago with a political report by leader Julius Malema and is set to proceed with elections after an organisational report being presented now.

The EFF National People's Assembly got underway at the University of the Free State today.

Malema says he forsees contestation for positions in the EFF's top six structures and has pleaded with prospective leaders to refrain from mud-slinging while campaigning.

"If you run a clean, mature contest without mudslinging and badmouthing and character assassination of those you contest against, why would they come back and want to get adieu?"

The party leader says elections will be facilitated by an independent body and whoever loses will not be purged from the EFF.

"My ear is on the ground and it looks like there will be a contest and it will be allowed. No one will be purged."

One of the leaders rumoured to face possible exit is Andile Mxgitama a strong proponent of black consciousness and the interim commissar for land reform.

The EFF has also, once again, accused the ANC of trying to use state institutions to stifle its growth and says its short notice decision to move its conference to Bloemfontein is the latest in a string of attempts to prevent the party from organising its members.

Two thousand delegates from across the country have converged and among the guests in attendance are international organisations in solidarity with Palestine and other leftist groups.

Earlier today Malema launched a scathing attack on EFF members who "join the party for positions or to settle scores from their previous organisation."

Malema also told a story on anarchy in the Western Cape, illustrative of his hard hand when dealing with dissent.

Delegates sang songs mocking President Jacob Zuma and chanted for free education and land expropriation.

Among the guests in attendance are international organisations in solidarity with Palestine and other leftist groups.

Malema also said government is incapable of doing its job, saying it is riddled with corruption and cannot deliver basic services.

Malema warned that the country will degenerate into chaos if the ANC continues to govern.

"We are in a crisis, because judges have now been corrupted in a corrupt system, protecting corrupt politicians. We are in a crisis because public entities are subjected to mediocre managers who are appointed on the basis of their proximity to their sitting president."