The Free Market Foundation (FMF) on Tuesday said in a statement that nothing the DA’s new federal chairperson, Helen Zille, said this week about Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba’s involvement with the FMF was true.
Spokesperson Jayne Boccaleone said the “most interesting thing about Helen Zille’s allegation that Herman Mashaba was Free Market Foundation president when the FMF held a Libertarian Seminar in Orania under his watch, is that none of it is true”.
She pointed out that Mashaba had never been the FMF president, the FMF had never held the Libertarian Seminar (LibSem) as she claimed, and the FMF had never held an event in Orania, contrary to Zille’s claims.
The foundation explained that LibSems had been held annually for 40 years, often in obscure places.
“Since Zille agreed to speak at LibSem four days ago, she should not castigate Mashaba for a LibSem association, even if he had one.”
They also pointed out that Mashaba was never an FMF president – Dr Sam Motsuenyane has been for many years – but had been their chairman from 15 May 2012 to 17 June 2014, “ie before the Orania LibSem in 2015”.
“The FMF has always been, and remains, (a) politically agnostic and (b) willing to inform members of events that might interest them.”
Earlier, following Mashaba’s resignation, for reasons primarily related to what he called the DA’s shift towards the “right wing” after the election of Zille on Sunday, Zille took to Twitter in an attempt to prove a point she made yesterday on radio, that Mashaba is, in fact, more “right wing” than she is.
Zille posted several tweets in an apparent attempt to cast Mashaba as a hypocrite, one of which saw her question if he allowed a seminar to take place in Orania – known as a whites-only town – under his leadership of the FMF.
Mashaba’s office responded to requests for comment by saying the mayor made his views clear in his resignation speech and asked the media to use it as his official comment for the time being.
The DA federal chairperson also dug up a tweet in which Mashaba said Zille was not racist, and that anyone who accused her of racism was supposedly racist themselves.
In March this year, Mashaba tweeted: “In all the years I have known Helen Zille, including reading extensively about her beautiful life, anyone calling her racist is actually racist herself/himself.
“Helen is one those [in] SA I personally hold with the highest esteem. I am proud of her as my fellow [South African]. Period,” Mashaba added.
Zille also retweeted a column from 2015 in which Mashaba calls BEE and other race-based policies a “cancer”.
Not everyone was on board with Zille dropping files, with one user calling her “petty”, adding that she should let the matter go as she had won.
“I call out hypocrisy wherever I see it. When I get called a racist publicly by a person who seven months ago said I was the dead opposite, I have a right to point this out. I was slagged off on every public platform. Do you call that winning? Nice,” was her response.
Another user said her tweets made it appear that “uGogo just had tea mixed Viceroy brandy this morning”.
“Lol. I wish,” was her response.
During an interview on 702 on Monday, Zille said Mashaba had always been further to the right of her.
“Herman Mashaba has always been significantly to the right of me, when I was one of the people who was helping recruit Herman to the DA, I said to my colleague, he’s far to the right of us, he was president of the Free Market Foundation. I could almost say a free-market fundamentalist.”
She added that he didn’t believe in social grants at the time and that they decided to encourage his leadership in the DA despite this.
“Everyone agreed it was enough in the ballpark to recruit him and that he would be a fiery and strong supporter,” she said.