What ideology is Nkandla brewing?

Jacob Zuma and Julius Malema tea party in Nkandla. The writer asks what storm is going to come out of the Nkandla teapot.
Jacob Zuma and Julius Malema tea party in Nkandla. The writer asks what storm is going to come out of the Nkandla teapot.

South African liberal democrats, social democrats and so-called progressive democrats, including those who project themselves as champions of economic freedom and radical economic transformation (RET) and quote Marx, Lenin, Fanon and Sankara for political currency, blindly extol the virtues of a constitutionalism.

Often the constitutionalists deride those who speak about the democratic deficits of a constitutional liberal democracy as crazy anarchists or utupian ultra leftists and label those who find themselves at odds with the liberal constitution of SA as constitutional delinquents.

But when the same passionate defenders of constitutionalism find themselves either on the other side of the law and the constitution or against the short stick of constitutionalism, they start mouthing radical slogans.

All of a sudden they wake up to the workings of ideology, politics, economics and the human element in the law.

When the EFF dared to propose that parliament get rid of the clauses in the constitution that are an impediment to changing the patterns of ownership of the land and the economy, the self-styled champion of RET, Jacob Zuma chastised the EFF as opportunistic anarchists. He vouched that he and the ANC will never ever pursue the land reform and transformation agenda outside of the precinct of the liberal constitution .

This was consistent with the assurances that Zuma gave Queen Elizabeth and the captains of global capital upon his election as ANC president that he is not going to move even an itch away from the economic policies of the ANC.

At the drop of the hat the same Zuma, facing a litany of resurfaced and new battles with the law, was mouthing radical soundbites against ideopolitical usages of the law and the constitution, and was being chasticised by the EFF as a constitutional delinquent.

This is the interesting backdrop to the meeting over a cup of tea between Malema and Zuma over the weekend.

With Malema and Zuma being in a delicate position where they are both vigorous defenders of liberal democratic constitutionalism and vibrant adversaries thereof in action, what were they likely to speak over that cup of green tea? What storm is going to come out of the Nkandla teapot?

Ebrahim Mphutlane wa Bofelo, email

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