Six years is a very short time in politics
Can Malema simply be ‘unexpelled’ from the ANC?
And would he even want to be?
In April 2012, Julius Malema was expelled from the ANC. A disciplinary committee had found that he had "sowed division" within the party and sentenced him to a five-year suspension.
Malema appealed the suspension, but this backfired when the appeal committee converted it to full expulsion. The chair of that committee was one Cyril Ramaphosa.
Fast-forward six years and Ramaphosa, now ANC president, wants Malema back in the party.
These were Ramaphosa’s words to reporters during a voter registration drive: "[The ANC] received back a number of people who left and went to form Cope. Others who left and went to the UDM are back with us. And, of course, the EFF members — we would want to welcome them back.
"We would love to have Julius Malema back in the ANC. He is still ANC down deep in his heart. So we would like to have those who are in the EFF back in the ANC, because the ANC is their home."
Ramaphosa’s deputy, David Mabuza, went a step further, saying he had "a special space" in his heart for Malema.
This is all good and well, except for one thing: Malema did not voluntarily leave the ANC. He was expelled. By Ramaphosa.
Back in 2012, Ramaphosa scored points with then ANC president Jacob Zuma by expelling Malema. Malema had become an outspoken critic of Zuma, and things were set to get really ugly at the party conference at the end of the year.
Zuma returned the favour by anointing Ramaphosa as his deputy and the rest is history, as the saying goes.
EFF national chairman Dali Mpofu responded to the overture bluntly. "There’s no chance in hell that we’ll go back to the ANC," the Sowetan reported him as saying.
Pointing out that Malema had been expelled, he said: "You can’t just ‘unexpel’ [him] in a TV interview."