Addressing journalists on Wednesday in Johannesburg Alexandra settlement, the leadership of the Economic Freedom Fighters says they avoided speaking to Winnie Madikizela-Mandela during coalition discussions as they knew that she would want them to work with the African National Congress.
“I avoided her because I can’t say no to her. Every time they would say Winnie is on the line, I would tell them to tell her that I will call back. I’m going to call her back after this press conference,” leader Julius Malema told reporters in Alexandra.
“She remains the mother of the nation and there were some form of contact with her not on this issues, before they became this complex and when they became complex I realised that it was not going to be strategic to engage with Mama Winnie because she has always been loyal to the ANC and she was not going to suggest anything other than the ANC.”
Malema, who has a soft spot for the struggle icon, said they were ready to take any criticism Madikizela-Mandela may have to dish out to them.
“I said I will see her after the announcement because this decision also took her views into consideration even when she has not expressed it. We already know it. If she decides to whip us, we will take it. It is a necessary pain but the decision remains,” he said.
However it wasn’t the case from the ANC and South Africa’s liberation icon’s view, talking to the media she opens up on trying to contact Malema during the coalition talks in which she referred the attempt as ‘fruitless but worthy it.’
“Julius Malema was my son in ANC and he continues to be my son outside ANC, a mother cannot abandon her son in times of need. If I abandon him, I would be a bad mother- He stands for a good cause, it’s my duty to trust my son’s decision, he decides to shun ANC for DA I will support him.”
“He avoided me during these coalition talks thinking that I will convince him otherwise but I only wanted to tell him that “he deserves my support as a son”. He has always been obedient even to Madiba, I am happy he took his father’s advice to watch his weight,” she said.