Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sycophants jostle to be near Zuma

Like I say, same circus, different clowns. The greed is palpable. Kudos to Zuma for flying commercial and sticking his entourage in coach.

Some passengers who wanted to sit next to President Jacob Zuma when he flew commercial on SAA, had to be thrown out of business class.


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When they refused to vacate business class after an announcement, the flight's captain had to personally come to the cabin and check every business-class passenger's ticket.

Pretoria News Weekend understands that some ANC leaders who had moved to business class to sit with the president were told to return to economy class in line with their tickets.

However, Zuma's aide said that it was elated ordinary passengers who wanted to be next to the president, and not party leaders.

Pretoria News Weekend was told that the captain made an announcement before take-off that passengers without business-class tickets should move.

Zuma's aide, Zizi Kodwa, confirmed this. "Apparently there were empty seats in business class. It's an SAA rule that just because there are empty seats in business class you can't just decide to move from economy," he said.

But while Kodwa said the announcement had nothing to do with Zuma's presence, he said there was excitement among the passengers.

"You could see that people wanted to be close to Zuma. The captain was announcing an SAA rule that those who did not qualify to be in business class had to go to their seats," said Kodwa.

However, a source who observed the scene said it had been ANC leaders who moved to business class to be closer to their president. He asked not to be quoted.

Another source, who also could not be named because of SAA rules, confirmed the presence of some ANC leaders, but could not verify that they were asked to leave business class.

But Kodwa denied that ANC leaders grabbed the business-class seats, saying it had been "ordinary passengers" who were asked to move.

However, the commotion caused by the presence of the president almost marred his gesture to be with the ordinary people.

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