If it is one thing about South Africans, they will seldom refrain from calling you out when you are wrong, and DA leader John Steenhuisen was on the receiving end of such recently.
The politician’s public criticism of a local airline, Lift, backfired quickly after it was realised his “rant” was misplaced with many labelling his social media outburst as “immature”.
Steenhuisen took to Facebook on June 4 just after 6pm to post: “Lift Airline, worst airline in South Africa, avoid at all costs!! Even SAA is better.”
His status update had many of his followers thinking his Facebook was hacked. But it was an updated status from Steenhuisen almost three hours later that showed he was not hacked and it was really the opposition party leader who posted.
At 8.52pm that same day, he posted: “I appreciate the call from the CEO of LIFT Airline and we are in discussion. It is great that an airline responds so quickly to customer concerns and wishes to resolve the matter. I commit to a constructive discussion with them about the circumstances surrounding this evenings matter and resolving them. Thank you Gidon Novick for your constructive response.”
It was later found out that Steenhuisen had in fact missed his flight. The boarding for flights closes 15 minutes before departure.
According to consumer journalist Wendy Knowler, who spoke to radio station 702, Steenhuisen had been held up passing through airport security and by the time he arrived at the gate, the pushback procedures had started, and he was not allowed to board.
Social media users wasted no time to let Steenhuisen know what they thought about his public rant.
Gert Hofhuis wrote under Steenhuisen’s second post informing his followers he had spoken wit the Lift CEO: “It seems like John Steenhuisen is suffering from the same delusions of grandeur as his political opponents in the ANC. Not the way to address such an issue by a so-called leader. I guess his ego got the better of him, once again. The sense of entitlement is overwhelming.”
Harvey Malope was straight forward in his response to the DA leader: “You were late chief. Apologize to Lift!”
Zohra Teke said there were reasons for rules, especially if it involved airlines because taking off late compromised other flights. She described him as showing “entitled Karen behaviour” because the airline refused to bend the rules in his favour and used his position and social media to try to discredit a local business.
Tharsu Naicker said: “Not good comments to start off with to get a response. After you have discussions with them, you will apologise and retract. As a leader of the biggest opposition political party in SA, maturity is required from you.”
And Nadine Whitelaw wrote: “Really John. This is so childish basically retracting what you said earlier. You Diss a company and now back tracking. Wow.”
There have been no further comments made by Lift or Steenhuisen following the matter.