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Malema The letters inappropriate insinuations forced EFF into a defensive stance



The EFF leader says the organisation will always be prioritised.

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema has added his voice to the ongoing debate on MP Naledi Chirwa’s letter of apology.

Chirwa caused a stir on Monday after issuing a public apology, as sanctioned by the party, for her absence in parliament on 21 February when Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana delivered his budget speech.

ALSO READ: EFF MP Naledi Chirwa fined for failure to attend Parliament due to her sick baby

In her letter, she explained that she failed to attend the proceedings as she was tending to her ill four-month-old daughter. While she did inform the organisation of her absence, she failed to inform the designated whip in their caucus in parliament.

“I am regretful for failing to attend parliament. My four-month-old daughter was sick and so I went home. My daughter is currently with my mother until post elections; this to allow me the opportunity to be completely engaged in organisational work during this period and to be part of the collective that will usher in an EFF government post 29 May 2024,” reads her letter.

Although she was unable to attend the budget speech in person or virtually, she did participate in the PC for Higher Education in Parliament on the virtual platform on the same day, “and contributed to the business of the day,” she wrote in her letter.

The sanction against her will not discourage her from further party commitments, she said.

“I do not doubt my commitment to the movement of the people and the responsibility we have been entrusted with in the parliament of South Africa,” she said.

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“This is why I went on maternity leave a day before giving birth and returned two months prior to the end of my maternity leave.”

Chirwa has been defending her party from critics who claimed her detailed letter was a cry for help, stating that she was wrong for not reporting her absence.

She also shared the reasons for her absence “in the interest of transparency and accountability,” she said.

“The apology is not begging for forgiveness for being a mom. You must not understand the EFF clearly. The apology is for failing to send an apology through proper channels for absence.”

According to Sixolise Gcilishe, EFF national communications manager, Chirwa is one of the 14 EFF MPs who missed an important parliamentary session and failed to inform the right people.

“Naledi and others missed parliament and didn’t inform the whips. They were asked by the organisation to explain themselves, they did. And then asked to issue a public apology as public representatives. Naledi just happened to be the first one to do so; it’s not an isolated case,” Gcilishe said on social media.

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However, the fact that EFF members spent the day defending the party from its critics irked Malema, who is currently in Nigeria for the Obafemi Owolowo Prize for Leadership.

The EFF leader said that instead of attending to the party’s business, EFF members were now spending their time defending the party from “rubbish.”

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“The letter’s inappropriate insinuations have forced our movement into a defensive stance, detracting our members from the immediate task of doing door-to-door because they must now defend their movement from rubbish. In situations where we must choose between an individual and the organisation, we must always prioritise the organisation.”

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