Dali Mpofu dumps ANC ... joins EFF after 33 years as devoted cadre

Advocate Dali Mpofu has dumped the ANC after 33 years to join Julius Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).

Mpofu has submitted his resignation letter to the ANC’s Saxonwold branch 117, north of Joburg, whose members include businessman Atul Gupta and music executive Sipho Sithole.

Mpofu yesterday expressed disillusionment with the party he joined in 1980 at the height of apartheid, saying it was not the vehicle to deliver the economic freedom ordinary South Africans need to improve their lot.

The ANC’s decision to adopt government’s National Development Plan at its elective conference in Mangaung, Free State, last December convinced him that the governing party was heading towards “neoliberal” politics, he told City Press in an exclusive interview.

“The path we are going to follow between now and 2030 is in my view the wrong prescription,” he said.

“So I don’t think we have to wait until 2031 to say this was not the correct prescription. By then the patient we are dealing with may be dead.”

The 51-year-old advocate, who currently represents families of the miners who were killed by the police in Marikana at the Farlam Commission of Inquiry, said the trend of violent service-delivery protests had convinced him that people who felt marginalised by the ANC needed an alternative.

“I believe that the radical policies that are needed should deliberately favour the poor, the working class?...?and those who have not enjoyed the fruits of freedom,” Mpofu said.

“We have to accept that addressing the needs of those people has to be done at the expense of those who have, so that we can have the hope of achieving stability.”

In the late 1980s, Mpofu served on the national executive committee of the Release Mandela Campaign and was part of the group that welcomed Madiba when he was freed in February 1990.

From left to right: A 28-year-old Dali Mpofu, Bulelani Ngcuka, Murphy Morobe, Trevor Manuel, Nelson Mandela, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Moses Mayekiso, Sister Bernard Ncube, Albertina Sisulu, an unidentified man, Walter Sisulu, an unidentified woman and Reverend Frank Chikane. This file photo was taken in the garden of Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s residence in Cape Town on February 12 1990, a day after Madiba was released from Victor Verster Prison in Paarl. Picture: Gallo Images/APF

He was also the deputy head of the ANC’s social welfare department in the early 1990s.

Although Mpofu has played a prominent role in the ANC in the past, lately he has been a thorn in the side of the governing party.

He represented Malema last year at the internal hearing that led to his expulsion as ANC Youth League president and from the party, and later successfully interdicted the Free State ANC leadership at the Constitutional Court on the eve of the party’s conference in Mangaung.

ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said he would not comment “on a story about Dali formalising his defection”.

ANC spokesperson Keith Khoza said Mpofu’s decision confirmed the party’s suspicion that the advocate was consistently “acting against the ANC in ways that projected the ANC negatively”.

“It is his choice if he feels he wants to join another party. We can’t comment on his views.”

Tebogo Khaas, the Saxonwold ANC branch secretary, said he was disappointed by Mpofu’s decision.

Mpofu said the EFF appealed to him because it provided “exciting opportunities” for a new political direction for South Africa, but said he had no intention of putting aside his legal robes to become a full-time politician.

He had informed his close ANC comrades, he said, and some were surprised at his decision.

“It’s not easy leaving a 100-year-old organisation,” he said.

“I respect the decision of those comrades who have decided to stay there. My only prediction is that in the fullness of time, they will see that they are just hanging on to the sentiment and the name.”

Mpofu said the experience of interacting with the victims of the Marikana massacre might also have influenced his decision.

He said: “For a long time, people like me thought you could change things from inside the ANC. Internal paralysis is such that it’s a question of time before it (the ANC) renders itself irrelevant to the broader revolution.”

Mpofu said his decision to leave had nothing to do with President Jacob Zuma’s leadership, but rather with the direction the party was taking.

“We chose a destination, which is the total emancipation of our people. If the vehicle that we chose has veered off the track, we must still pursue the destination and simply change vehicles,” Mpofu said.

Gauteng ANC spokesperson Nkenke Kekana said he hoped that Mpofu’s decision was not an emotional one and that the advocate would one day rejoin the governing party.