There is much speculation as to why there had to be a high tea at Nkandla, and indeed, why these specific characters were in attendance. I love high tea. I fondly recall my days at Cambridge while reading for my PhD when a group of us would gather, usually in front of the Indian Palace restaurant, and set off on our customary Sunday morning stroll along the river Cam towards our favourite tea garden, The Orchard.
It is a tea room and tea garden in Grantchester, near Cambridge, serving morning coffee, lunches and afternoon teas. It has been there since 1897 and is a popular retreat for Cambridge students, teachers and tourists, as well as locals, with many famous names among its patrons over the years, among them Virginia Woolf, John Maynard Keynes, EM Forster, Bertrand Russell, Augustus John and Ludwig Wittgenstein – the so-called Grantchester Group.
As we indulged in scones and double-thick cream with strawberry jam, we felt as if we were among these great men and women. As always, we would discuss our respective philosophies and what progress, if any, we had made in the previous weeks.
Topics would range from the complexities of trade relations between the Global North and South, to making significant advances with developing a “kill switch” for modern-day robotics, given the advances of artificial intelligence.
Or many times, we simply cracked our heads over a simple philosophical statement, “cogito, ergo sum” – I think, therefore I am. Whatever did Descartes mean and how did Bertrand Russell and Wittgenstein make sense of this? Those were good days with my brothers and comrades.
I mention these intellectual pursuits and deliberations because I am convinced that the high tea in the hinterland of KwaZulu-Natal between Jacob Zuma and Julius Malema was anything but intellectual, or for that matter, attempting to solve challenges that would result in a better world. No, their discussion, I’m afraid, was probably rather more sinister than that.
And true to Malema’s word, it seems your foe today can be your friend tomorrow. Gone are the days, it seems, of chanting “pay back the money”.
Nor, it seems, will those in attendance recall the number of votes of no confidence Zuma had to endure.
Let’s put all of that aside and agree we have a common enemy in the person of Cyril Ramaphosa, and indeed a common problem – that of wanting to stay out of prison at all cost. So, for the moment we will have to go with this malarkey and come up with a credible plan.
The coalition of the “prisoners-to-be” met at Nkandla to plot the way forward and to agree on a modus operandi that must ensure that all of them do not face the long arm of the law and thus circumvent justice for their wrongdoing. Whether it be for allegedly stealing from the poor in the VBS bank saga or actively stealing and corrupting our state institutions.
So, what is this plan?
The game plan, I imagine, goes something like this: our backs are up against the wall and the Hawks are closing in on us all. We must convince Zuma to swallow his pride and go to the Zondo Commission. Once there, we are expecting you (Zuma) to embarrass and more importantly implicate President Ramaphosa in all manner of wrongdoing during his tenure as deputy president. Why, because two wrongs make a right, do they not?
There are people in the Ramaphosa camp who have also participated in State Capture – let’s expose them too. Scorched earth tactics are what is needed now. Give ample credence to the submission made by Brian Molefe and add a bit more spice, as only you can do. Once this is done, we will find a patsy similar to the one who recently laid charges against the president to lay charges again.
In short, Mr President, be all you can be.
This will give us the ammunition we need to then do two things. One, in keeping with the ANC national conference resolution, demand that the president must step aside for the accusations to be investigated. Two, a motion of no confidence will be placed on the parliamentary order paper.
The reasons for this are the revelations coming from the Zondo Commission, the sorry state of the economy, the corruption involved in the PPE tender scandal, the mess with the recently acquired vaccines – and we will think of a few more good ones in order to make it believable.
The point is that once we have removed Cyril, we are almost home free. Free, quite literally.
Because he who controls the West Wing of the Union Buildings controls all the levers of the justice and security cluster – the courts, the NPA, SAPS, the SSA and the Hawks. This is a no-brainer, Zuma, we can pull this off. Now, let’s be merry and partake not in scones and cream, but in true African style – with a whole spit lamb.
By the way, all this is possible because we on the other side, the right side of history, are dragging our feet. For the life of me, I cannot tell you why. We are giving these guys ample time to plot, connive and plan.
The manipulation of ANC branches in all provinces is next: after all, the 2022 national elective conference is practically here already! This is where the “Tea Party” will perform its final act – removing Ramaphosa as president of the ANC and electing its members back into power.
It’s a great plan concocted at Nkandla. But it won’t work.
What in reality is going to happen is that Zuma, Ace Magashule and Julius (the troika) will be arrested and will see their day in our courts. The Hawks are in the final stages of finalising the charge sheet for Julius – there’s no avoiding this one.
Ace will be forced by the NEC next weekend to step aside, with everyone else that has been formally charged by our National Prosecuting Authority, indicating that it believes there is a case to be answered.
This will most certainly destabilise and scupper any chances the RET grouping thinks it has. But let’s not stop there.
I furthermore propose, Mr President, with the untimely death of our beloved comrade, minister in the presidency Jackson Mthembu, that the time is right for you to announce a Cabinet reshuffle. David Mahlobo must be the first to bite the bullet, thus demonstrating that what went on at the SSA cannot be forgiven or condoned, and criminal charges must surely be brought against him.
This must be followed swiftly with Madam Lindiwe Sisulu, who has been a thorn in your side from the minute she lost at Nasrec. In addition, incompetent ministers and deputies will also have to be shown the door, I’m afraid. I’ll leave these up to your imagination.
In short, Mr President, be all you can be.
Come this Thursday evening with the opening of Parliament, remind us all why we voted for you in 2019.
Demonstrate how caring and thoughtful your government’s approach has been during this devastating Covid-19 pandemic. The speed and rapidity with which you dealt with the PPE corruption – we are already seeing the positive results from the investigations and the bringing to book of those responsible.
Tell us to all take a bow with regard to the revenue collection of SARS, even during this difficult time. Inform us that even with a stringent and constrained fiscus at this time, your government will finalise the legislative requirements for the introduction of a basic income grant for the poorest of the poor in our society.
Remind us why we should still all shout, Thuma Mina!
This is the narrative that will prevail – not the ones from Nkandla. DM