Online debate has been sparked by an old photo of EFF leader Julius Malema having meals and drinks with Prophet Uebert Angel, the infamous special envoy gold mafia kingpin of Zimbabwe.
Angel is alleged to be a member of a mafia organisation that smuggles gold, and he was seen on video promising to smuggle $1 billion worth of dirty money into Zimbabwe.
On the other hand, Malema has a contentious reputation in South African politics and is well-known for his outspoken criticism of corruption and abuse of power and his demands for economic and social justice. He is the chairman of South Africa’s left-leaning Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).
According to reports, the photo of Malema and Uebert Angel was taken at an unspecified time and date in a restaurant in Sandton, South Africa. The two men can be seen laughing and eating together in the picture.
Due to Angel’s alleged involvement in illegal activities and the meeting, there have been concerns raised about Malema’s relationship with him. Malema has been charged with hypocrisy for allegedly dining with a man he has previously decried.
Watch: Al Jazeera Gold Mafia Documentary Exposing Uebert Angel, Others
Malema hasn’t spoken out about the meeting yet, but sources close to him have claimed that it was just a social event and that Malema was unaware of Angel’s alleged criminal activities.
Social media users have responded to the image in a variety of ways, with many expressing displeasure at Malema’s apparent affiliation with a man accused of criminal activity.
Others, however, have defended Malema, contending that there is nothing wrong with him dining with someone, even if that person has a contentious reputation.
It is unclear how Malema will react to the controversy and whether it will have any bearing on his political standing in South Africa