President Cyril Ramaphosa campaigned in Stellenbosch in the Western Cape earlier this week, jokingly telling an audience at the Beyerskloof wine estate that he would “tie” young white South Africans to a “tree” if he could, to stop them leaving South Africa.
“I don’t want young white South Africans to leave the country. If I could, I would tie them to a tree,” said a smiling Cyril, according to News24.
He denied that white South Africans were unwanted, saying “there is room for all of us to play a role,” and that white South Africans had valuables skills the country needed.
He added that he hoped white people who had left the country would return.
ACDP leader Reverand Kenneth Meshoe has since taken to Twitter to accuse Ramaphosa of being “hypocritical”.
“It is hypocritical for [Cyril Ramaphosa] to urge young white people to stay in the country while they’re denied job opportunities. When it suits him, he uses the race card and blames his government’s failures on apartheid. He must ‘man up’ and take responsibility for his failures,” Meshoe tweeted.
A number of white South Africans also took to Twitter to take issue with Ramaphosa’s attempts at enticing them to stay.
An opinion piece by Johannes Wessels, the director of the Economic Observatory of SA, estimates that 400,00 professionals, including a quarter of a million white professionals, have left South Africa.
“Considering that the 1990-2003 emigration of skills continued despite the return of stability under Mandela and Mbeki, one can easily state that at least a similar number of white professional people have left between 2004 and 2018, amounting to at least a quarter million of white professionals,” Wessles wrote.
“The last phase of the [former president Jacob] Zuma catastrophe, as well as the ANC’s embrace of land expropriation without compensation, has led to an acceleration of skilled emigration by all race groups.
“With the White Paper on Migration stating that more black professionals are leaving than white professionals, one can conservatively calculate that at least 400,000 professionals have left our shores.
“This contributes to the shrinking percentage of high-income households, as well as removing people in high personal tax brackets as contributors to the South African Revenue Service.”
(Compiled by Daniel Friedman)