An expert has debunked a popular meme suggesting that US President Donald Trump was performing better than President Cyril Ramaphosa, after Joburg mayor Herman Mashaba was again caught on the wrong side of his Twitter followers’ global political leanings.
Mashaba tweeted the meme in which Trump is compared with Ramaphosa. Listing the economic victories of the Western superpower since Trump’s administration took over in 2016, the meme compares this to a list of several blows to South Africa’s economy since Ramaphosa took office in February.
Notably, the meme suggested the US is currently facing its lowest unemployment rate in 40 years while South Africa is facing its highest. Mashaba deleted the tweet yesterday following hours of outrage.
Having defended it for some time after posting it, Herman Mashaba has now deleted this. (Hugs to the DA faithful who told me I was part of "the outrage machine" for calling this out. Especially the ones who insisted this isn't an endorsement of Trump. Bless.) pic.twitter.com/9EdiYh5D7j
— Tom Eaton (@TomEatonSA) August 13, 2018
Economist Xhanti Payi said the comparison was an impossible one to make because the economic strides Trump was being lauded for were a direct result of interventions made by former US president Barack Obama after the 2009 global financial crisis.
Inheriting an economy already in free fall, one of Obama’s most notable moves to rejuvenate the US economy was the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
“What we are seeing in the US economy today is a direct result of the momentum created by the Obama administration and the work those interventions continue to do today.
“Policies take a long time to kick in and some of those results [for the US] are now doing so, such as the unemployment rate which is now below 5%.”
Using the same logic, Payi said, one could not fault Ramaphosa for South Africa’s weak economic performances seven months into his term.
After deleting the tweet, the mayor continued to defend it.
“This comparison has nothing to do with Trump‚ but with a government that serves the people and puts serious matters into perspective. It appears to me that some people enjoy seeing our people suffer,” he said.
This comparison has nothing to do with personalities, but with government performance. I personally like CM, but not impressed with his performance to serve our people. He is still driving the same bus inherited from JZ leading to more woes for our country https://t.co/X4vAWamvg3
— Herman Mashaba (@HermanMashaba) August 13, 2018
Mashaba was widely castigated, with some suggesting such a stance would not count in favour of the DA.
He was also accused of supporting Trump, echoing earlier sentiments by his critics after he made several comments against illegal immigrants in Johannesburg last year.
Mashaba could not be reached for comment at the time of going to press.
What Twitter said
Twitter users didn’t take kindly to Mashaba’s comparison:
- Despicable and disgusting that Trump is now the role model of the DA. This is 100 times worse than @helenzille colonialism tweet! @Our_DA
- This is revolting. Are you publicly declaring your support for Trump? Another DA vote lost. @ChrisUitzinger
- Why don’t you move to the US then? Oh, and don’t forget to take the whole DA with you. @_Bernard11
- This tweet going to hurt the DA, there certainly could’ve been a better approach to drive your point, this tweet lacks wisdom, the most divisive propoganda tool. @Shaun23638569