One can easily forget but internet never forgets.Recently, some Twitter users have brought up the fact that Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema, whose party has become the ardent defender of Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane, affirmed that he had “information” proving she was a spy.

The EFF has joined Mkhwebane’s defence in two cases at the High Court in Pretoria – one in which Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan was granted an interdict on Monday halting the remedial action she ordered against him in a report, and one taking place today, in which President Cyril Ramaphosa is seeking an interdict that would allow him (at least for now) to avoid taking remedial action against Gordhan in connection with a separate report.

Malema arrived at court on Thursday alongside EFF members including secretary-general Godrich Gardee, spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi and former youth leader and MP Vuyani Pambo, and was photographed sharing a joke with Advocate Dali Mpofu, who was at the court not in his capacity as EFF national chairperson but as Mkhwebane’s advocate.

But some on Twitter have pointed out that Malema and his party’s recent attempts to protect the office of the public protector mark a dramatic shift on their opinion on Mkhwebane, who the leader of the red berets had previously called “a Gupta puppet” and said should be called the “state protector” rather than the “public protector”.

Malema spoke at a press conference in 2017 following the party’s third plenum to formulate the party’s strategic plans for the year, where he said the EFF had conducted an investigation and had proof Mkhwebane was a spy.

He added that he and the EFF regretted their decision to support Mkhwebane and wished they could take it back.

EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi had ignored questions on how and why the party and Malema changed their position on Mkhwebane at the time of publication.

However, a recent comment he made after the EFF’s recent controversial behaviour in parliament, which saw the party removed from the chamber for trying to prevent Gordhan delivering his department’s budget vote speech, suggests that Malema’s spy accusations and “Gupta puppet” insults would be met with protest from his own party’s spokesperson.

“Never show contempt to the public protector. It doesn’t matter who holds that office, it doesn’t matter the incumbent – protect and respect chapter 9 institutions or else you are going to be met with protest here and we are ready for anything – the army, your hooligans that you call security, we are ready for all of them,” Ndlozi said.

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