Mashaba is Being Hypocritical on the Race Issue

By Pinky Khoabane

WHILE the resignation of Herman Mashaba as mayor of City of Johannesburg and from the Democratic Alliance leaves a bitter taste in the mouth, his reason for leaving – “I cannot reconcile myself with a group of people who think race is irrelevant when dealing with social economic conditions of people” – is hypocritical. 

His resignation reminds us once again how white people will use Blacks and discard them when and as they wish. The DA has a firm track record now on its misuse of Blacks. They have used them to legitimise the party as a non-racial party which is home to every race and dumped them when they are no longer useful. Lindiwe Mazibuko, Patricia DeLille, Phumzile van Damme, Mmusi Maimaine, Herman Mashaba…..but do natives learn? You can bet there will be another bunch who will be waiting in the wings to be used to blacken the party. 

For Mashaba to say he cannot reconcile himself with a group that “think race is irrelevant” is the height of hypocrisy. Firstly, he’s been with this group since he joined the DA. He has stomached Helen Zille’s flawed arguments on the benefits of colonialism without saying a word. Unlike Maimane and van Damme who went against the former Western Cape premier and now DA Federal Council chairman, he didnt present any rebuttal to an argument that not only sparked a race row but brought immense pain to the black people whom Mashaba has recently recognised exist as a race and whose socio-economic standing is as a result of the blood spattered history of our country. 

Mashaba is the same man who, not so long ago, believed that policies meant to redress the ills of apartheid are discriminatory and go against the Constitution and should therefore be scrapped. 

In a complaint lodged by trade union Solidarity to the United Nations (UN), Mashaba supported the plea to have democratic South Africa’s policies repealed on the basis that they were discriminatory and racist.

In his acceptance speech as mayoral candidate, Mashaba repeated the same ludicrous claims. At the time of his speech, he promised to scrap racial profiling. He wanted to be a South African and not Black, he said. His views fitted very well with this group who don’t see the relevance of race. 

Mashaba’s sentiments about blackness didnt come too much as a surprise given the roots of his financial success. He has made his money through a world-wide billion dollar industry that has attempted to erase blackness.

Mashaba’s business – Black Like Me – comprises mainly of products that straighten Black women’s hair. The relaxer as its called, contains a ferocious chemical which if left for longer than is prescribed and this happens very often in Black hair salons, burns the skin.

Where the Krok Brothers manufactured “beauty” products laced with hydroquinone, which burnt and poisoned Black facial skins, Mashaba burnt their scalps – all this in the name of making black people more palatable to whites. The net effect of the physical pain and negation of the self would in most instances, results in better opportunities across all facets of society and professional industries.

In his presentation to the UN, Mashaba said he grew up in Hammanskraal and his normal day resembled the hardship of many Black people at the time. His mother stole food from her employer just so they could have a meal, he said. How he thought his mother could compete with the mothers of his friends in Solidarity and DA  without policies that level the playing field, is symptomatic of the extent to which apartheid damages the mind.

Today Zille said Mashaba once held a business meeting in Orania, the white enclave where Blacks arent wanted. And today Mashaba told us he can’t reconcile himself with people who cant see race. He also said the DA had made his reign difficult because he’s pro-poor – pull the other one Mr Ex-Mayor.

Mashaba has been a changed man since Zille together with the Institute of Race Relations (IRR) went public on the need for Maimane to step down and allow Western Cape Premier Alan Winde to take over the leadership and save the party. 

Mashaba has been very vocal in his condemnation of what Maimane called the right-wing IRR. Mashaba went so far as asking if it is the new Guptas which has captured the DA. Maimane and Mashaba have seemingly awakened to the reality of race being a real issue. In one tweet Mashaba even called a Financial Mail journalist an apartheid beneficiary – the same man who once accompanied other apartheid beneficiaries to repeal race-based policies which would benefit the poor that he has come to mention quite frequently in recent days. 

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