Zuma, Malema mum over discussion

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Malema and his team go to the chopper after their meeting with Zuma.
Malema and his team go to the chopper after their meeting with Zuma.
Jabulani Langa

The discussions between former President Jacob Zuma and EFF leader Julius Malema in Nkandla were by late on Friday still a subject of speculation.

Both Zuma and Malema declined to divulge what was discussed at their “tea” meeting held at the former president’s homestead.

Malema arrived at Nkandla by helicopter around noon, accompanied by EFF spokesperson Vuyani Pambo, and former party chairperson Dali Mpofu.

ANC national executive committee member Tony Yengeni was also in the helicopter, the SABC’s Samkele Maseko reported.

Ekurhuleni mayor Mzwandile Masina, who facilitated the meeting, arrived separately.

All those attending the meeting have previously expressed unhappiness about President Cyril Ramaphosa’s leadership.

Zuma and Malema surprised the nation when they tagged each other on Twitter on Wednesday to organise a meeting over tea.

ALSO READ: Ramaphosa: Zuma could yet be persuaded to change his mind about Zondo Commission

They didn’t say what the meeting would be about, but they are expected to air common grievances in the meeting.

Zuma this week became the centre of controversy again when he said in a statement that he would disregard an order by the Constitutional Court to appear before the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture because he had an issue with how it was constituted.

In a statement, the EFF said although Zuma’s defiance of the Constitutional Court was “misguided”, it felt that the commission was a “factional instrument” devised by Ramaphosa to protect “capitalist money”.

Malema and his deputy, Floyd Shivambu, were reported to be under investigation by the Zondo commission themselves due to their alleged role in the looting of VBS Mutual Bank.

ALSO READ: Spilling the tea: Zuma and Malema plan a tea party on Twitter

Malema, who Zuma hailed as a possible future president of the country when Malema supported his rise to power in 2007, subsequently became one of the most vocal campaigners for Zuma’s expulsion from the Presidency. The meeting seems to signal that the two could be finding common ground again.

Several witnesses had implicated him in state capture and corruption. Zuma, who made a few appearances before the commission in 2019 and last year, believes that the commission was biased against him.

Should he not appear before the commission on February 15 as requested by the commission, Zuma risks being arrested for contempt of court.

However, some political analysts believe that arresting Zuma, who still has a large following, particularly in his home province of KwaZulu-Natal, could lead to violent demonstrations.

Sources close to Malema said the EFF leader’s trip to Nkandla on Friday was part of efforts to convince Zuma to change his mind on his decision not to appear before the commission.

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