“Our discussion was robust and constructive. We are concerned about how public discourse can brutalise people and undermine democratic processes if the bounds of respect and dignity are not observed,” Foundation Chairperson Njabulo Ndebele said in a statement on Monday.
This second meeting with the political party came at the foundation’s request to discuss special challenges confronting any society in the lead-up to a national election.
“We are concerned, therefore, that in an election such as the one that is coming, an atmosphere of peace should prevail,” Professor Ndebele added.
The EFF has been embroiled in several attacks against Minister of Public Enterprise Pravin Gordhan, whom EFF leader, Julius Malema dubbed “the dog of white monopoly capital”.
He further instructed party members to prepare for “war” against the former finance minister. Malema also launched a scathing attack on the media that he alleges are the “defence force” of President Cyril Ramaphosa and Pravin Gordhan.
This prompted the South African National Editor’s Forum (SANEF) to intervene.
According to the Foundation, the EFF welcomed the engagement and notes the foundation’s role in ensuring that 2019 elections proceed in a peaceful manner.
“We appreciate the initiative by the Nelson Mandela Foundation to interact with us as the EFF, and hope there will still be many more to come,” EFF Leader Julius Malema said.
In its own statement, the party said they also discussed land reform, poverty, inequality, unemployment and gender based violence.
“The EFF expresses gratitude for the initiative taken by the NMF to meet with our leadership; with a view to understand the world through our eyes,” said EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi.
“Many in our country, who represent foundations of veterans, take public platforms without any prior dialogue, and attack the EFF based on media and distorted reports.”
The foundation is expected to continue engaging the EFF, as well as other members of civil society, political parties and key institutions leading up to the 2019 general elections.