Ekurhuleni Mayor and African National Congress (ANC) regional chairperson Mzwandile Masina has denied agreeing that the “white economy” should be allowed to collapse.
Speaking during a virtual meeting of Parliament’s cooperative governance and traditional affairs portfolio committee on Wednesday, Masina insisted that he only spoke of “nationalising the commanding heights of the economy” in a controversial tweet he posted on Monday.
In that tweet, he shared a newspaper article reporting on Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema’s comment on the matter.
‘Disrupting white business’
Malema was expressing his opposition to the easing of lockdown restrictions and was quoted saying, “The only thing we must do, like we did during apartheid, [is to] refuse to comply. We must engage in a stay-away. If this white economy collapses, let it collapse.”
In his tweet, Masina wrote, “I fully agree with my friend on this one @Julius_S_Malema. Until we nationalise all commanding heights of the economy – we need to restart this economy and make sure it favours the majority. Things can’t be [the] same again.”
Responding to a question from Democratic Alliance (DA) MP Mohammed Haniff Hoosen, Masina explained, “I said in my tweet, ‘Nationalise the commanding heights of the economy.’ If that is racist according to you, you must think again and I think that it’s an unfair comment.
“I attached what Malema had said in a statement. I then qualified the specific thing where me and him agree and I am not going to take that back. That does not mean or it’s not reduced to disrupting white business and so on. I was not party to that conversation.”
Nationalising economy ‘falls outside ANC policy’
Masina’s tweet drew a rebuke from the ANC, which issued a statement saying his position on nationalising the economy “falls outside the confines of our policy position.”
The ANC added, “Leaders of the ANC feed into the narrative of policy uncertainty when they publicly canvas positions outside the formal structures. We therefore encourage members of the ANC to exercise their freedom of speech within the confines of ANC structures.”
Masina reacted angrily to the ANC’s statement. In a series of now-deleted tweets, he wrote, “I’m ready to stand down for radical policies. I fear nothing if I’m isolated for radical views.
“Come DA, take me with. I care less. I’m not a coward. There is no way my ANC views can be misunderstood in my organisation. I stand firm on the nationalisation of commanding heights.”
“I can be removed tomorrow as Mayor – I’ll accept without hesitation. I’m not a coward. I’m ready ANC; I won’t ask you why. What I won’t do is to be friends with [white monopoly capital]. My views are more important than being gagged by whites,” the Mayor added.
Ekurhuleni ANC’s regional executive committee met on Tuesday to discuss the controversy and announced that it would issue a statement on Wednesday.