What was most inconceivable in the minds of many South Africans was to live to see the day where Malema would start addressing former president Zuma as ‘former president’, let alone meeting him over a cup of tea. More interestingly, the irony being that they were meeting right at the very same ‘monument of corruption’ (Nkandla) that Malema over the years campaigned against, writes Masingita Mkhawana.
This week has been quite eventful politically. On Monday morning we woke up to the letter from the Jacob Zuma Foundation in which the former president openly states that he will participate in the State Capture Commission of Inquiry (Zondo Commission) no longer. The letter came against the backdrop of a Constitutional Court ruling compelling him to appear before this accountability forum a week earlier.
In what appears to be a suspicious synchronicity of events, EFF leader Julius Malema asked for an urgent meeting with former president Zuma to which the old man agreed hastily, which literally took everyone by surprise, because this meeting somehow marks an end of a decade long enmity between the pair. This happens a day or two after the letter by the Jacob Zuma Foundation.
It must be borne in mind that the EFF since its formation engaged in a lot of political-cum-legal battles with former president Zuma and this to a larger degree gained them serious political mileage within a short space of time. There is no shred of doubt that the 2016 Constitutional Court ruling (Nkandla judgment) that found that former president Zuma had broken his oath of office was spearheaded by the EFF. In the process the EFF somehow positioned itself as a reliable force in defending the rule of law and the constitution.
The EFF came out strongly against members of the Gupta family who had allegedly usurped executive authority under former president Zuma so much so that they were even ‘conducting interviews’ for cabinet appointments and other important appointments in government or state owned enterprises at the infamous Gupta compound at Saxonworld. Government officials who refused to facilitate tenders or take instructions from the Guptas were either redeployed or permanently removed from their positions. The EFF made it its bounden, if not revolutionary, duty to conscientize everyone about these shenanigans.
The EFF always insisted that former President Zuma who surrendered the executive authority of the state to external interests must be held accountable, slogans such as ‘Pay back the money’, ‘Zuma must fall, Baba ka Duduzane etc were cobbled up by the EFF. The grit with which they insisted this must happen was quite unassailable, they would intermittently halt parliamentary proceedings demanding that former president Zuma must be held accountable which often necessitated the use of physical force to eject them out of the August house by the security personnel.
What was most inconceivable in the minds of many South Africans was to live to see the day where Malema would start addressing former president Zuma as ‘former president’, let alone meeting him over a cup of tea. More interestingly, the irony being that they were meeting right at the very same ‘monument of corruption’ (Nkandla) that Malema over the years campaigned against. This is the same Jacob Zuma who was humiliated so badly by Malema during the funeral of the late Winnie Mandela.
Whatever it is that was on the agenda of the most famous tea meeting in the history of South Africa, which remains subject of speculations, people must know that it has absolutely nothing to do with them or the good of the country but self-interests of the two individuals, Malema and former president Zuma. There must be a serious common goal behind this rapprochement. It is also increasingly becoming clear that the battles fought at the upper echelons of our politics have got nothing to do with the hoi polloi and the riff-raff but the elite involved. It is a jostle for access and control of state resources. One must be living in a fool’s paradise to believe that Malema and former president Zuma were interacting for the first time on Twitter this week, it is patently clear that the two have been talking privately for some time now.
It is important to note that the principle of equality before the rule of law is a pivot on which constitutional democracy is built, also critical is the inviolability of the constitution. Most failed African states have failed to live up to this and by all indications South Africa might be headed towards this direction. We have been watching helplessly over the years state institutions being hijacked and ensnared in political battles (intra-ANC battles), parliament degenarating into a comedy show and chaos, while the looting of state resources continues unabated.
Former president Zuma, regardless of who he coalesces or makes modus vivendi with he must be held accountable. He must respond to all the allegations made against him at the commission and also face corruption charges. He must not be cajoled to participate, just like everyone else, processes that naturally follow when someone refuses to cooperate with legal processes must be implemented, and that is if we want to remain true to the principle of equality before the rule of law.
Lastly, people who have been making threats of civil war like the President of MKVA, Kebby Maphatsoe, must in fact be dealt with very harshly, such behavior is tantamount to treason. A dangerous precedence will be set if accountability and the rule of law must only be upheld when it suits political agenda of certain individuals.*****