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Zuma-Malema meeting: Start of SA's own Tea Party?

Former president Jacob Zuma and EFF leader Julius Malema enjoy a pot of tea at Nkandla yesterday. Picture: Twitter / EFF

Former president Jacob Zuma and EFF leader Julius Malema enjoy a pot of tea at Nkandla yesterday. Picture: Twitter / EFF

Published Feb 6, 2021

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Editorial

Was yesterday's meeting between former president Jacob Zuma and EFF leader Julius Malema the start of forming South Africa's own Tea Party?

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Before the tweets which heralded the meeting, few would have predicted that Zuma and Malema would ever again have anything in common to discuss over tea.

A day is a long time in politics, let alone the years which have elapsed since Malema said, on being kicked out of the ANC, that he had warned us about Zuma.

A man for all seasons, Malema is not. Rather, he is a blade of grass bending the way of the prevailing wind.

First, he was prepared to die and kill for Zuma.

Four years later, as their relationship soured, he accused Zuma of dictatorship.

In 2008, at the height of his ANC Youth League pomp, he called for Thabo Mbeki to be removed as president, only for the EFF to sit down with Mbeki eight years later.

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It was under Zuma that the EFF was first removed – sometimes violently – from the National Assembly, for calling on the former president to "Pay back the money", seemingly putting paid to any possibility of a reconciliation.

But it appears that in politics, as in so many other areas, the enemy of my enemy is my friend, and Zuma and Malema have a common enemy in the Zondo Commission; Zuma already under pressure to answer to allegations made against him at the commission, and Malema fearing the commission is probing any benefit he may have derived from the VBS bank heist.

Rather than being a coalition of the wounded, this is more a coalition of the horribly afraid of going to jail and needing to discredit Judge Raymond Zondo and his commission.

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Emerging from the meeting, which included advocate Dali Mpofu, EFF spokesperson Vuyani Pambo would have us believe that the discussion, over a "cordial mood", had been about tea, which was sweet and hot.

He encouraged reporters to take in the "beautiful scenery" at what the EFF had previously labelled a monument to corruption.

Now, we wait for the real purpose of the meeting to emerge.

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