Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba has not been making himself popular on Twitter recently.
It started with the former hair-care magnate turned Democratic Alliance (DA) politician drawing controversy by tweeting that he stopped a man from selling cow heads, or “skopo”.
He said that the man with his trolley of cow heads was committing an “illegal” act and said he’d called the police on the salesman.
This attracted scorn, with only a few praising Mashaba’s preoccupation with cleanliness and many saying that he was failing to show support for small businesses and robbing the man of his livelihood.
When confronted, he doubled down in a second tweet which has provoked both outrage and mockery.
This time, he said that he would not “sit back” and allow “people like you to bring us Ebolas in the name of small business”.
We are going to sit back and allow people like you to bring us Ebolas in the name of small business. Health of our people first. Our health facilities are already stretched to the limit https://t.co/rbPFqlpy1K
— Herman Mashaba (@HermanMashaba) November 13, 2018
The tweet has both been ridiculed for Mashaba’s random pluralisation of the word “Ebola” and attacked for its apparent ignorance when it comes to how the disease is actually spread.
Many also accused Mashaba of xenophobia, as he had reportedly said that the man selling ‘skopo’ was an illegal immigrant.
Some suggested that his use of the term “people like you” indicates a belief that foreigners bring disease to South Africa. The Joburg mayor has been accused of xenophobia several times before.
These accusations are as a result of several comments, including him saying that “foreigners‚ whether legal or illegal‚ are not the responsibility of the city” and that his municipality “will only provide accommodation exclusively to South Africans”.
Below are only a few of the reactions to the ‘Ebolas’ tweet.
Shocking xenophobia from DA mayor. https://t.co/ixBLxxa0w1
— Pierre de Vos (@pierredevos) November 13, 2018
You sir, are not as learned as you think you are ????????♀️ People like you to bring Ebola”, Ladies and gentleman this is the Mayor of Johannesburg. Is it not post like this that fuel the never ending xenophobia attacks on foreigners? https://t.co/1qVPRre96y
— Ghetto Uterus ???????????????????????????????? (@Kofi_SiribosBae) November 13, 2018
'We'? People like you'? Really Mr Mashaba? People like who? Foreigners? 'We' who? The locals? Also, dear, Ebola, not Ebolas. Xenophobia and stupidity do go hand in hand. And this tweet shows you have a healthy dose of both sweetheart.
— VolvoDrivingSoccerMom (@RoseHoman74) November 13, 2018
No sir. Skop is sold daily like that in Johannesburg. By arresting one guy and announcing it on Twitter he has not done anything on consequence to avoid disease. His response should be systemic and proactive. He did nothing priase-worthy in that instance. Also what is Ebolas?
— Tessa Dooms (@tessie18) November 14, 2018
"people like you" "Ebolas"
But do we have any proof that Ebola comes from beef? https://t.co/n5PsG1GYhJ
— Kolisa Yola Sinyanya????️???????????? (@Kolie_Yola) November 14, 2018
He even loses English in his hatred of poor black people- it's outbreak of disease not breakdown. & what is "Ebolas"???? His DA colleagues should edit his tweets before he is allowed to send them out
— MaNgwe (@Lioness79457760) November 14, 2018