Last week, Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi shared pictures of himself and EFF leader Julius Malema travelling to Cuba.
They were on their way to attend funeral events related to the death of Cuban leader Fidel Castro, whose ashes were interred in a private ceremony on Sunday.
The cheapest return flight we could find to Havana, with three days’ notice, was R25 247 return, per person, using Air France. The most expensive economy flight was on SAA, for R48 897. With an extra day’s notice, the cheapest flight dropped to R17 769 per person.
The cheapest business class flight available this week, however, using travelstart.co.za, was R166 328 per person. Curiously, there weren’t a lot of business class fares available on travelstart, so we tried a different website, cheapflights.co.za, where most of the business class return fares to Havana, Cuba’s capital, ranged between R64 500 and R67 600 for the most expensive flight.
— EFF Official Account (@EFFSouthAfrica) December 4, 2016
It’s not entirely clear if the picture of them is of them travelling in business class. However, Destiny Mag posted on their Facebook page late on Tuesday that it was, writing:
“[LET’S TALK] Mbuyiseni Ndlozi posted a picture of himself and Julius Malema travelling to Cuba in a business class flight. Do you think the EFF should be traveling business class in light of the principle the party preaches of being one with ‘the people’?”
The post generated a great deal of discussion and response, with Tau Mrwealth Masemola, asking: “Who sponsored the tickets? That’s who you should be asking the question.”
C Obakeng Thomas said: “I knew from the start nje that even the overalls and aprons in parliament was just a socialist pretense to have a compelling political agenda to stand for and represent the poor. But deep down Mr Juju is a capitalist. Socialism was a brilliant political approach to go for and it’s working and I am grateful to have an opposition party like EFF in my country in my lifetime. I root for Mr Malema in all that he does politically. But socialism is not for lavish guys. No hating if somebody likes nice things, don’t get me wrong.”
Abel Mtshweni also said the photo appeared to be evidence of a wrong to him: “Truth be told a party such as the EFF must lead from the front by walking the talk. If the EFF is a party of poorest of the poor as they claim to be they were suppose to travel the economy class. I think some of us we suffering from selective analysis & lack consistent in our analysis!”
Maṱodzi Phosha, however, said that the picture wasn’t even of the two men in business class, although this contention did not appear to get much support. “Stop lying Destiny Man. I have travelled in both business and economy class on several airlines and that doesn’t look like business class seats at all. Those are actually the bad seats on economy AKA cattle class.”
Many Facebook users came out to dismiss the debate, with many attacking Destiny Man for even raising the issue. A number of people said that travelling to Cuba in economy would just be too exhausting.
Lebo Mmatli wrote: “So when you are against poverty u must live like poor ppl? Though day in-out u fight poverty? Let’s not be nonsensical nor petty.”
Ephraim Makana wrote: “Don’t you think they can afford a flight, with their salaries? These men are the face of economic struggle. Why do want to treat them like beggars?”
Fanatwice Mayimele said she was a DA member but felt that if they could afford to fly business class, “must they walk to Cuba with money in their pockets ? Must they take the money they suppose to travel with ne give it to the street kids, and then after?”
Landile Zwedala said: “Yes they should. Why is it that when blacks afford stuff that is deemed ‘white’ we ask illiterate questions! Rise black child rise!”
— EFF Official Account (@EFFSouthAfrica) December 2, 2016
— EFF Official Account (@EFFSouthAfrica) December 5, 2016
VIDEO | Julius Malema in Cuba for Castro's funeral https://t.co/KNTHVViJCx
— SABC News Online (@SABCNewsOnline) December 5, 2016