Durban – Former president Jacob Zuma and EFF leader Julius Malema spent five hours having tea on Friday – but what they discussed remains in the bag.
Malema arrived in a field several metres outside of Zuma’s sprawling R246 million KwaNxamalala, Nkandla abode in a helicopter after 12.30pm on Friday, before being whisked away into the former head of state’s home in a luxury German SUV, where he remained enclosed for the “tea party” for nearly five hours.
Malema was then whisked away in the same vehicle to the waiting chopper, before taking to the skies with his entourage, including advocate Dali Mpofu SC.
Also among the visitors were ANC NEC member Tony Yengeni, Ekurhuleni mayor Mzwandile Masina and the EFF’s national spokesperson, Vuyani Pambo.
The meeting comes in the wake of the 78-year-old former head of state blatantly defying the Constitutional Court’s judgment ordering him to appear before the Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture headed by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.
Addressing the media outside Zuma’s homestead, Pambo said the meeting had gone well but did not disclose any details.
Pambo said there had not been a theme for the meeting put out to the public or media, but the agenda between the former leader of the ANC Youth League and the former ANC and state president was tea.
Pambo said the media had not been invited, and they were only talking to the media as a courtesy.
“The meeting went very well, the tea was nice and sweet, very hot. So you know the practice of having tea is such that it’s a slow process, you can’t just gulp it like you drink other things, so you have to take your time,” was all Pambo would tell the media.
The private tea party trended on social media with South Africans amused at the secrecy around the event.
@sephiritsikeli tweeted: “President Zuma's tea meeting with Malema at Nkandla has caused headlines. I wonder what would happen if they told us that they added scones and muffins.”
@NtiiliOfficialZA added: “Someone said the media will be camping outside Zuma's home waiting for Malema to arrive and I thought they were just exaggerating... It happened.”
@Makumbi believes Zuma and Malema have made history with their tea party.
“For the first time in history of South Africa, a cup of tea has made headlines just because Julius Malema and Jacob Zuma are going to drink it together.”
@VQwathi said the tea party had piqued her interest in politics.
“Malema actually went to Nkandla. I’ve never been so interested in politics.”
@souldocs thinks after this party tea prices will soar in the country.
“Caution: DO NOT attempt to buy tea today, or this weekend. Tea prices are at its record high, following the on going.”
About an hour after the meeting, Masina took to his Twitter account and posted a picture of the entourage, which he captioned: “Today we did what many thought was impossible and united Black Leadership in the interest of our Constitutional Democracy @Julius_S_Malema @PresJGZuma in my capacity as Citizen Facilitator. Watch the outcome and be a judge.”
Political analyst Ralph Mathekga said it was difficult to ascertain what the meeting could have been about and questioned Zuma’s intentions on creating a media furore over meeting a leader of a particular party while the ANC was not there.
“Where is the ANC in all of this? They need to respond, were they part of the meeting or what. Mzwandile Masina was there, but it is not clear if he was part of the ANC as a party or is Zuma now just doing what he wants?” Mathekga said.
President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Friday that Zuma should be given time and allowed space as he was being counselled by different people following his statement in which he defied the Constitutional Court’s judgment ordering to appear before the Zondo Commission.
Ramaphosa, who addressed journalists outside the home of the late Mama Rebecca Kotane, said: “He has expressed his own thoughts and views. This is a matter I am sure he is going to give more thought to because he is being counselled by various people from different organisations.
“These are issues he must give consideration to in his own mind, in his own time, let us give former president Zuma time and space to think about this.
“I am prepared to leave it there, of course we have not discussed this matter in the ANC, which we will do. Anybody who says much more, will be missing the point.”