Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema has defended his friend Ekurhuleni mayor Mzwandile Masina following a backlash over his social media posts.
Masina, also the regional chairperson of the ANC in Ekurhuleni, set tongues wagging on Sunday after supporting Malema’s call to “let the white economy collapse”.
The EFF leader and his party have criticised the easing of the nationwide lockdown amid the coronavirus outbreak, saying it would lead to more infections and deaths.
“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. This can’t be sane again,” said Masina in agreement.
The ANC released a statement rebuking Masina for his stance, calling on its leaders to be mindful of what they post and to keep in mind that nationalising the economy was not ANC policy.
The party said: “While the views were expressed on a personal account, it stands to confuse our constituency and members as to what the ANC stands for. It is expected of ANC leaders to act with care and be cautious at all times on matters of policy.
“Leaders of the ANC feed into the narrative of policy uncertainty when they publicly canvass 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 made headlines prior to Cyril Ramaphosa becoming ANC president for saying he would refuse to keep serving as the mayor should Ramaphosa become the country’s number one citizen. He did not follow through on this, however, when it happened.
Read the full statement below:
In response, Masina said he would accept “without hesitation” should the ANC remove him as mayor over his views.
“My views are more important than being gagged by whites. I’m not a coward. Kill me if you can, I fear no one,” he said before deactivating his Twitter account.
Amid the backlash, his friend Malema has since defended him, warning him against trusting “these ANC people”.
He said: “They suspended the Twitter Acc of @mzwandileMasina because they can’t tolerate the radical views of the black man. I know you belong to them Zwai but never trust these @MYANC people, young independent thinkers have always threatened them. Never be discouraged black child.”
Masina’s account was shortly back in business though.
Malema was expelled from the party in 2012 after being found guilty of sowing divisions within the ANC.
(Compiled by Vhahangwele Nemakonde)