Julius Malema is at it again. This time he has set his sights on Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene, holder of probably the most important cabinet portfolio after the president. During the debate on the Presidency’s budget vote Malema accused Nene, who was reappointed to his old job in February, of impropriety, suggesting that the EFF is in possession of a dossier of meetings he had with dodgy business people during his tenure as deputy to then finance minister Pravin Gordhan — that is, during Jacob Zuma’s first term as president. It is not immediately clear what Malema’s endgame is in targeting Nene, or why now. However, his tactic is clear. By making the defamatory remarks in Parliament he is protected by parliamentary privilege. Nene isn’t the first minister to become a victim of the politics of smear. Prior to his sacking last March, Gordhan was targeted by the friends of Bell Pottinger, including Edward Zuma, who has since been forced to apologise to him and Tourism Minister Derek ...

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