The EFF Regrets the Statement Made in Parliament About Amashangane [press release]

The Economic Freedom Fighters regrets the statement by Fighter Pimrose Sonti during the Motion of No Confidence debate in Parliament on the 17th of March 2015. In the debate, Fighter Sonti spoke in IsiXhosa and said that certain services in Marikana which were meant to empower local community are being diverted to amashangane, which in terms of the informal settlements language and according to her own understanding refers to foreigners. Fighter Pimrose never intended to speak bad about Shangaan/Tsonga speaking people as is suggested by political opportunists.

The EFF however regrets the remark, even if it was made in reference to people who were not born within borders called SA today. The EFF is not a tribalist Organisation and it is never Xenophobic. The EFF is a progressive movement, which believes that all South Africans and Africans should be treated equally and with respect, despite their place of origin and language they speak.

The EFF 2014 General Elections Manifesto says, “The EFF Government will criminalize all forms of racism and tribalism and run a Programme to enlighten people that we are one people with a common vision and destiny”. This remains our commitment and one which the EFF will carry out through massive education of its members and Activists, that we should never view each other on the basis of ethnic groups and on the basis of languages.

The EFF is also not a xenophobic organisation, and nothing in its programmes will justify xenophobia. This is why the Founding Manifesto of the EFF says, “Certain basic rights cannot be denied to any human being who is in South Africa, whether they are in possession of certain documents or not. Basic rights that should be guaranteed include access to health, access to education for children, protection from super-exploitation by employers, and access to burial rights in South Africa. The processes of applying for naturalisation should also not be complicated because, all over the world, it is generally accepted that people will migrate and can choose to stay in the country in which they are residing for economic, social, and political reasons. It cannot be correct that South Africa criminalises those who seek naturalisation”.

The EFF’s position on the immigration questions and brothers/sisters from other parts of Africa is the most progressive one in the continent. The EFF holds this progressive view because our struggles, the socialist internationalist struggle for economic freedom is intricately intertwined with the economic emancipation of the entire African continent.

The comments and remarks that suggested that the EFF is tribalist and xenophobic are therefore regrettable

and tribalist and xenophobic views will never be uttered by any of EFF leaders and Members of Parliament because they are not policy of the organisation. We thought we should clarify this because opportunistic elements, particularly from the ANC had begun to paint the EFF as a tribalist and xenophobic organisation. We are a movement of the people and will never take a position that speaks against the people of South Africa irrespective of their languages.