South Africa has its first political party – for and run by young people.
Seven former student leaders, who were expelled from the EFF last year, this week announced the formation of the USHumans political party.
They claimed the “leaderless” party would initially be run by a collective – just like the 2015 #FeesMustFall students’ protests.
Mokoena “Msholozi” Mathole, one of the founding members, spoke to City Press ahead of the party’s launch at the Joburg Theatre yesterday.
Mathole said they had been lobbying for support at various universities for students to join USHumans.
He said the party’s leadership structure would be decided later.
But he was adamant that “this is not just an ordinary political party”, and “this will be evident in our approach”.
Mathole was one of eight former EFF student command leaders who failed in their bid to be reinstated at the red berets’ elective conference last month.
Others involved in the new party are Kamvelihle Goba and Sergio Malatsi Tsietsi, Tshireletso Mati, Princess Mlala, Sihle Dikaneng and Relebogile Masetle.
Mathole, who claims he was kicked out of the EFF due to ideological differences with the party’s leadership, said he was aware that the timing of their decision might be questioned.
However, he said he appreciated the experience he had gained from serving the red berets.
“I am grateful for all the things we went through in the EFF because that has helped us create this party. We realised that the problem is not with leaders, but it is with the need to be led. Human beings are born leaders, they need freedom and not domination,” he said.
Mathole said what would set USHumans apart from other parties was that “the party seeks to focus on students”.
He said their main focus was to empower people to self-govern by targeting “fresh ideas” and “people with new ideas”.
Mati, who handles the new party’s communication department, said: “This will be the only organisation that identifies the state as its enemy. We do not intend to replace one oppression by another. Instead, we are offering young people a new way of thinking which is necessary to oppose the state, monopoly capitalism and all forms of oppression and exploitation.”
Asked how the party would be funded, Mathole said that the members of the working class would assist with that.
“We are lobbying the working class; those workers will fund the party. If they are interested in the party, they must fund it, it’s easy, and if you work you should fund your ideas.”
This is not the first time expelled EFF members have formed a splinter party.
After its first assembly in 2014, Andile Mngxitama, Mpho Ramakatsa and Khanyisile Litchfield-Tshabalala were suspended and later expelled.
Mngxitama then formed the Black First Land First party.
Last month, party leader Julius Malema announced that 70 members had been expelled or suspended since 2015.
Mathole was among eight members whose bid to be reinstated was rejected.
The newly formed party did not appeal to Lungile Gabuza, a former member who was axed after fighting the party for removing her name from a parliamentary list.
Gabuza told City Press that she still needed to be convinced about the USHumans’ policies as they were not clear.
“They have failed to convince me about their policies so I will reserve my decision to join for the time being,” she said.