A Twitter user who took a photograph of Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema sitting in business class on a flight and supposedly “enjoying some Moët & Chandon” champagne (he appears to be reading a book in the photograph and no glass of champagne is visible in the shot) while “preparing to fight for the poor”.
Malema responded, but did not get drawn into an argument, instead only saying “Yes, happy now?” along with some champagne emojis.
This led to the user, lawyer, and podcaster Daniël Eloff tweeting “cheers” and telling Malema: “Hope you enjoyed the best capitalism has to offer.”
“Don’t forget to take your medication today,” was the EFF leader’s flippant response.
The party is regularly accused of hypocrisy for what some perceive as the disconnect between their manifesto and lifestyles.
The EFF strongly associates itself with the poor, even trying to “resemble” them by dressing like construction workers and domestic workers, but has been accused of living a lavish lifestyle behind the scenes, such as the recent case when Daily Maverick published an article looking into the contents of trash allegedly left out by EFF members.
Heaps of expensive bottles of liquor were found, in total 37 bottles. The fighters allegedly spent at least R25,000 on French champagne brands such as Veuve Clicquot and Moët & Chandon. A bottle of Veuve Clicquot retails for about R600 and Moët Nectar Imperial will set you back around R700. Bottles of Glenfiddich whisky (special edition at R1,500 a bottle) were also found.
The report was controversial, with some saying it was selective, vindictive, and represented “trash journalism” – something author Marianne Thamm owned up to in the piece itself.
While some have suggested that to care about the poor doesn’t mean one has to be poor oneself as a defence of the EFF’s apparent penchant for the high life, others have agreed the party is hypocritical, including former EFF member and Black First Land First (BLF) leader Andile Mngxitama, who published a scathing statement after it was reported that the party had enjoyed Rupert & Rothschild wines – produced by their supposed enemies – at a function.
This proved the EFF was unprincipled and subservient to whites, Mngxitama wrote at the time.
“The same EFF that claims to be revolutionary and wears overalls in Parliament, dines in Gucci and drinks Rupert’s wine at night. There are many black-owned wine brands that need exposure and support, which the EFF could have promoted, but just like the African National Congress (ANC), they put white people first and support white businesses for their own personal gain.”
(Compiled by Daniel Friedman. Background reporting, Gopolang Moloko and Charles Cilliers)