Ekurhuleni Mayor Mzwandile Masina has sought to explain his call for closure of Durban harbour, saying it was just a metaphor for beneficiation of the country’s minerals.
He was reacting to the heavy criticism and derision he received soon after making the call via Twitter over the weekend.
In several tweets on Tuesday, Masina lambasted his critics for “reading Twitter posts like a Bible verse.”
He tweeted, “I can’t believe so many learned friends can’t read metaphor of closing the Durban harbour to be meaning let’s implement policy on beneficiation. But I’m not surprised; that’s the level of journalism we are subjected to. No one asked what do I mean, sithulile nje.”
The Mayor added, “Those who doubt, just be rest assured radical transformation won’t happen when we don’t push boundaries in SA. Learn to pose questions; don’t read Twitter posts like reading a Bible verse.”
He cited a report by former President Thabo Mbeki on illicit financial and mineral outflows from Africa, suggesting that it inspired his call.
Masina went on to argue, “In SA, we need to compel mining houses to reduce exports [of] raw materials.
“We also need local industrial capabilities to process platinum into catalytic converters and fuel cells. This is the debate we must be having [rather] than trying to maintain status quo. Unemployment is on the rise.”
He further argued for “value addition to our minerals” to improve South Africa’s economic conditions.
In his parting shot, he suggested his critics had not focused on the core message of his call: “You can criticise as much as you can, but this is the policy position that we will defend.
“Stop being silly and focus on the non-core when you know very well what is the debate here. Let’s engage on the real stuff [sic].”
In the tweet that sparked the furore, Masina said closing the Durban harbour would gain South Africa “full independence from Western Imperialists.”
He wrote, “Democracy is nice and good, but to get our full independence from Western Imperialists, we must close down the Durban Harbour so that no Minerals leave this country.
“In that way, International Manufacturing will descend to SA since we hold 90% of platinum, which the Works so need.”