“A meeting of national importance.”
This is how the EFF has described leader Julius Malema’s proposed tea encounter with former president Jacob Zuma this weekend at Zuma’s Nkandla homestead.
EFF national spokesperson Vuyani Pambo told TimesLIVE on Wednesday night that a meeting between Zuma and Malema would indeed be taking place this weekend, and what had transpired on Twitter was neither a ruse nor a hoax.
Malema on Wednesday sent a tweet to the former president’s official Twitter account, asking if they could “please have tea urgently”.
This comes just two days after Zuma said he would defy a Constitutional Court order that he appear before — and answer questions at — the state capture commission later this month.
About four hours later, Zuma replied, extending an invitation to his once bitter political rival.
“Thobela Moshabi. I have seen your request to share a cup of tea. As you know, Nkandla village is home for me and that is where my time is spent these days. Tea I have plenty of, you are more than welcome to come over for a cup,” he said.
Malema suggested that he would take up that invitation — “possibly this weekend”.
Pambo told TimesLIVE: “It is a meeting of national importance and as a leader of society the commander in chief [Malema] will leader us appropriately.”
The EFF on Monday said that Zuma’s decision to defy the Constitutional Court was misguided, and called on him and his lawyers to reconsider the “ill-advised decision”.
The party said that while it agreed with Zuma that while it appeared the commission was being used in ANC factional battles with a mandate to apparently protect President Cyril Ramaphosa and minister Pravin Gordhan, it believed Zuma nonetheless still needed to appear.
Zuma has said that his decision not to co-operate with the commission rested on his contention that its chairperson, deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo, was conflicted and biased, and should recuse himself.
Zuma has continued to maintain an earlier argument that his previous personal relationship with Zondo renders the deputy chief justice unfit to hear his evidence and so he will, therefore, not appear before him.
While confirming the meeting between the political rivals — who were once allies in the ANC — Pambo declined to speculate on the agenda.
“Let’s allow the CIC to meet Zuma. It’s an important meeting, that you’ve been privy to. It doesn’t mean we must now get into the gymnastics of the meeting,” he said.
On Twitter, Malema said he would speak to “your young man”, Ekurhuleni mayor Mzwandile Masina, for the final details of the meeting.
For his part, Masina appeared to indicate that the meeting was going ahead — but didn’t provide specifics.
“Tea session of President Jacob Zuma and Julius Malema will be interesting and I’m sure the two men who contributed to the constitutional being of SA will provide a grate insight of how mature our democracy has become. Count down starts now, keep you posted!!!!” he said.
Tea session of @PresJGZuma and @Julius_S_Malema will be interesting and I’m sure the two men who contributed to the constitutional being of SA will provide a grate insight of how mature our democracy has become. Count down starts now, keep you posted!!!!
— Mzwandile Masina (@mzwandileMasina) February 3, 2021
By Kgothatso Madisa – TimesLIVE