Johannesburg - Former Western Cape Premier Helen Zille has invited EFF leader Julius Malema for some "tea" and a ‘no-holds barred’ discussion about the future of the country, anywhere and anytime.
Since retiring from public office at the end of the last general elections, Zille joined the Institute for Race Relations as a senior policy fellow. More recently, in August this year, she has ventured into the world of podcasts where she frequently interviews newsmakers in her podcast known as ‘Tea With Helen’.
Some of the people who have already appeared in the podcast include journalists Max Du Preez, Peter Bruce and Ferial Haffajee, and most recently, Wits Vice Chancellor Adam Habib.
Zille describes her podcast as a platform to “talk about the present and the future”.
“Tea With Helen is my new foray into political and social debate. I will be talking to journalists, academics, politicians and other shakers and movers about the big ideas and issues of our time, both locally and globally.
“Let’s get out of the Twitter gutter and have some truth-seeking conversations. Join me on Youtube, iTunes and wherever you get your podcasts. Let’s have tea,” says the former mayor of Cape Town.
But why Malema?
Zille had asked her followers on Monday if she should invite Julius Malema or former president Thabo Mbeki, using a Twitter poll to engage with her followers. With several hours left before the poll ends, the resounding response was Malema, prompting Zille to extend the invite on Tuesday morning before the poll had even shut.
Who would You like to see as my next guest on "Tea with Helen"?— Helen Zille (@helenzille) September 30, 2019
Extending her invite to Malema early on Tuesday morning, Zille took to Twitter and approached the leader of the EFF:
“Hi there @Julius_S_Malema. I would like to invite you as a guest on my podcast #TeaWithHelen for a no-holds-barred discussion on SA's future prospects. My diary is quite flexible, so you name the date, time and place. I'll serve the tea. Looking forward to your response,” she tweeted.
Hi there @Julius_S_Malema. I would like to invite you as a guest on my podcast #TeaWithHelen for a no-holds-barred discussion on SA's future prospects. My diary is quite flexible, so you name the date, time and place. I'll serve the tea. Looking forward to your response.— Helen Zille (@helenzille) October 1, 2019
Several hours later, Malema has yet to respond.
“I don't mind a live broadcast. None of my podcasts have been edited,” Zille followed up.
I don't mind a live broadcast. None of my podcasts have been edited.— Helen Zille (@helenzille) October 1, 2019
Calls and text messages to the EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi went unanswered on Tuesday morning.
History - Malema, Zille and Tea
When Malema was still the ANC Youth League president, he rejected several calls to debate with DA youth leaders and he has a history of describing several black DA leaders 'tea girls' and 'garden boys'.
In one instance, in February 2009, the Cape Argus reported that Malema would not debate with ‘Helen Zille’s garden boy’, he said, referring to former DA youth leader Khume Ramulifho who had called on Malema to debate him after he branded the party as ‘racist’ and ‘imperialist’.
And again in 2011, Malema pulled out of a live TV debate ahead of the elections with former DA spokesperson Lindiwe Mazibuko, whom he branded a ‘tea girl’ at the time.
“I was never asked to debate Lindiwe... She's a nobody, she's a tea girl of the madam. I'm not debating with the service of the madam,” he said at the time, referring to Zille, Sapa reported.
Meanwhile, some of the Twitterati had a field day as they shared their reactions to the invite. Some of Malema’s supporters were skeptical, while others were already looking forward to it.
Really Helen......on twitter nyani...... don't you have his number? You know he has an office in Cape Town— Mathaba Cyprian (@CyprianMathaba) October 1, 2019
I may disagree with @helenzille on a number of political views, but I think this interview with CIC @Julius_S_Malema is necessary. Julius and Helen having tea is a pay per view event.👌🏾👌🏾👌🏾https://t.co/6Xm6UfOKs3— Japhta Sesotlo (@japhtasesotlo) October 1, 2019
Debates are good for our democracy. I am really looking forward to the discussions— [email protected] (@M3dInfo) October 1, 2019
We want a revolutionary Gucci tea cup and Louis Vuitton teaspoon for our hardworking CIC— Nakhu Sengilapha! (@NakhuSengilapha) October 1, 2019
Marketing at it's best. most probably didn't even know aunt Helen has her own gig?! pic.twitter.com/ELiolYVIVy— ✊🏾 a luta continua ✊🏾 (@BiggiePhats) October 1, 2019
@Julius_S_Malema please take the challenged my leader I know u will school her with many things pls— Pro Africans! (@Rebaone59275709) October 1, 2019