For the past 250 years, the most civilised drink in the world, tea, has become synonymous with political rebellion. Ever since those disaffected colonialists dumped tea into Boston harbour in 1773; men gathering for tea has spelt trouble. In 2008, Americans decided to have another tea party and this led to the nightmare that was the Donald Trump presidency.


As a wise man once told me; “when someone invites you for a cup of tea, it is not about the tea”.


Recently South Africa joined the move towards tea drinking diplomacy, when the EFF’s Julius Malema, Dali Mpofu and Vuyani Pambo, decided to have tea with the ANC’s Jacob Zuma, Tony Yengeni and Mzwandile Masina. This almost cartoon-like gathering raised some serious questions.


What does it mean?


Why did they do it?


What will happen next?


We have all seen enough Hollywood gangster movies to know that when rival mob families decide to meet, it is either the start of a joint offensive or it is in response the panic of the ever-closing net. Both options are at play here!


This coalition of the guilty have only two objectives; to stay out of jail, and to steal more money. There is only one mechanism that achieves both aims; take over the whole country! If this sounds crazy, remember that Jacob Zuma did this after the he stole money from the Arms Deal. Julius Malema knows this only too well, because he was one of Zuma’s cohorts that enabled the original capture as the head of the youth league and chief Zuma tub-thumper. Aside from being a long-term Zuma ally, Malema has his own legal woes with the VBS theft. The Zondo commission, a reawakened NPA and a gatvol public, has spooked this group and they have decided to use the nuclear option. Take over the country and turn this into a proper kleptocracy!


What happens next and will this work?


The next step is to attempt to take over the ANC. The way to do this will be to undermine Cyril Ramaphosa and have him replaced by one of the litany of Zuma supporters around him. It could be David Mabuza, Ace Magashula or Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.


Let’s not forget how close this came to succeeding in 2017. It would be easier to convince 4000 compromised ANC delegates that it makes more sense to get rid of Cyril than it would be to convince this same group to account for their crimes. It is also easier to convince 4000 compromised ANC delegates than to get the gatvol South African public to vote for a clearly corrupt ANC headed by Ace Magashula or Julius Malema.


This grand plan could work because a critical mass of the ANC is severely compromised, but what happens if this doesn’t work?


Should the power grab of the ANC not work, Plan B could be for the enthusiastic tea drinkers to contest the next election under the banner of the EFF. This is not likely to succeed given the lack of enthusiasm that the electorate has shown for Julius, Floyd and their party.


What is to be done?


The quickest way to head this gang off at the pass, is to start real criminal proceedings, especially against Zuma for defying the Constitution Court and Malema for his theft from widows and orphans through the VBS scandal. Once again, we have been here before; if the Scorpions had of charged Zuma when they charged Shabir Sheik, it is highly likely that he would have been discredited enough not to be supported at Polokwane. Our recent history would have been very different.


I don’t think that this plan will work again. The tea drinkers so clearly represent the past and nobody likes yesterday’s men.


When Zuma was stealing millions from the Arms Deal, it was small money in a growing economy. The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party participants have stolen billions from a stagnant economy ravaged by the Covid-19 lockdown. The public are not in a forgiving mood and most or our politicians know this.


The tea party is a desperate act by desperate men. We need to be very vigilant to ensure that they don’t succeed.


Kind Regards
Michael Sham

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