On an appearance on SABC’s Morning Live on Wednesday morning, Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba was taken to task over his recent tweet comparing Donald Trump and Cyril Ramaphosa’s governments, but made it clear that he only wanted to talk about the Guptas.
The recent tweet, which caused a storm on social media, pictured Trump under the label “success” and Ramaphosa under the label “failure”, with a list of the Trump administration’s supposed successes juxtaposed against the alleged failures of Ramaphosa’s government.
On first mention of the tweet by host Leanne Manas, Mashaba straight away deflected attention, attempting to turn the discussion on his tweet into one about the Gupta family instead.
“What about the suing of the Guptas for insulting black people?” he interjected, referring to his recent announcement that he would be attempting to drag Gupta brothers Atul and Ajay to the Equality Court over their alleged racial slurs against black South Africans.
Mashaba spoke about what he saw as Ramaphosa’s role in the downfall of the South Africa’s economy, saying those who blamed the struggling rand on “international issues” were incorrect. “No one can fool us that the international economy has an issue,” he continued.
Mashaba took pains to explain, as he has done before on Twitter, that his comparison was not “a personal issue”. He recently told a Twitter user that his tweet had “nothing to do with Trump”.
This comparison has nothing to do with Trump, but with government that serves the people & put serious matters in perspective. It appears to me that some people enjoy seeing our people suffer https://t.co/X4vAWamvg3
— Herman Mashaba (@HermanMashaba) August 13, 2018
Manas, however, said: “You have to concede that it is a personal issue”.
Mashaba in response claimed to “like Ramaphosa”, but went on to say that as former deputy president he must share the blame for any corruption and maladministration that occurred during Zuma’s time as president, as it “happened under his watch”.
According to Mashaba, Ramaphosa “decided to turn a blind eye” on state capture.
The mayor and former businessman slammed what he described as the billions that would be needed to bail out state-owned enterprises looted under the Guptas’ watch. “Where’s the money? It’s lying somewhere in Dubai,” he said.
He also spoke out against what he saw as South Africans’ preoccupation with race over issues he deemed more important. “Let us not bring up racial matters,” he said.
Manas noted people worried about the DA losing votes over Mashaba’s tweet.
She also noted that Mashaba should be wary of associating himself with the US president, as “a lot of people have called” him “a Trump wannabee”.
When Manas said he had caused many South Africans offence, he asked: “Which South Africans?”
Manas asked Mashaba directly to apologise. He refused, repeating his assertion that his comparison wasn’t “personal”.
“I am not praising Donald Trump, I am comparing governments,” he claimed.
“I stand by what I’ve articulated in terms of comparison of the governments,” he added.