Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema has been met with a social media backlash after visiting the family of 13-year-old Enock Mpianzi, the Parktown Boys’ High School pupil who drowned on 15 January while participating in a water activity at Nyati Bush and Riverbreak lodge, near Brits in the North West.
Various Twitter users have labelled the EFF commander-in-chief an “opportunist” and an “attention seeker”; accused him of using “tragedies to score political points”; and of having “used a family’s grief for a photo opportunity”.
There are also those who have defended Malema’s decision to visit the grieving family, arguing that President Cyril Ramaphosa and other high-ranking ANC members including David Mabuza and Ace Magashule had also visited the family of the deceased, and received no criticism for doing so.
Malema visited the family on Wednesday to offer condolences on behalf of the EFF, as well as legal help.
The EFF leader “conveyed his condolences and also made a commitment, on behalf of the EFF, to assemble a legal team that will assist the family to probe the circumstances that led to Enock’s passing”, a tweet from the party said.
The Citizen reported on Wednesday that Malema told the family on his visit that there should have been a headcount on the pupil’s return from the activity.
Malema stressed that Enock’s disappearance should have been identified “with immediate effect,” as there remained “no clarity as to why it took so long [to find him]”.
“The resort and school have neglected the school children. Someone needs to take responsibility.”
At the time of publication, EFF spokesperson Dr Mbuyiseni Ndlozi had not responded to requests for comment on accusations that Malema’s visit was opportunistic.
Julius Malema made a grieving mother get up from her mattress (where she is being comforted by family, where she is struggling to come to terms with the death of her son) , to take a picture with him.
This is beyond the bottom.
— FIELD NIGGRESS.???? (@Lady_Khumo) January 22, 2020
MALEMA IS OPPORTUNIST:
Did JUDAS go to family of a COP who was killed by our brothers from ZIMBABWE?
Did he go and apologise like he did last time when we were trying to chase out CRIMINALS IN SA?
He claim to care about SA citizens ????????????????
— BLACKS ADVOCATE (@roast_and) January 23, 2020
This is bullshit this boy Malema always run to the grieving families to take pictures and talk nonsense. The family just lost its son and all he wanted was to take pictures. We can't have this kind of politicians who use tragedies to score political points. #EnockMpianzi pic.twitter.com/fVQDcqDKLH
— Enough of speeches…… time to act (@Fighters4what) January 23, 2020
— Anthony Olivier (@AnthonyOlivier) January 22, 2020
Can only look at this with disgust, if you gonna do good, do it not be seen by anyone. The parents look so uncomfortable in this pic, but for Malema its attention seeking tenancies for political exposure????????????
— Enock Valoyi (@valoyee) January 22, 2020
— Koketšo (@Kokie_e) January 22, 2020
By looking at this pic, it's high chances that malema wanted to take the pic with the grieving family. pic.twitter.com/RffX0sAt0C
— Rico Strong (@XhakazaMdu) January 23, 2020
These guys are at work to just insult anything Malema. We not going to anywhere with this conversation !! Let me go wear jacket before they come for me
— Black Excellence (@TBesigheid) January 23, 2020
Did you say the same about Ramaphosa's entourage or its only reserved for Malema?
— Ota Benga (@MmuiWabatho) January 23, 2020
CIC @Julius_S_Malema conveyed his condolences and also made a commitment, on behalf of the EFF, to assemble a legal team that will assist the family to probe the circumstances that led to Enoch’s passing. pic.twitter.com/OJh7eQuTYg
— Economic Freedom Fighters (@EFFSouthAfrica) January 22, 2020
You ought to be ashamed of yourselves! Disgusting show of political gaming. ????????????
— Anne (@amsmitrs) January 23, 2020
(Compiled by Daniel Friedman)