Mzwandile Masina defends nationalisation and coronavirus vaccine claims


The ANC is expected to clarify its position on the ‘rogue’ minister’s outbursts.

Mzwandile Masina, the embattled Ekurhuleni mayor who lashed out at the African National Congress (ANC) earlier this week, has defended his controversial claims but refused to follow through on his threat to resign.

While the ANC battles to uphold its socio-political integrity amid a wave of dissent and legal defeats as a result of government’s contentious lockdown regulations, the internal mutiny playing out in the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality has added to the ruling party’s woes.

Masina, who, in addition to being the Executive Mayor of Ekurhuleni, also serves as the ANC’s regional chairperson, has gone rogue.

Mzwandile Masina goes rogue

On Sunday, Masina voiced his support for Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader, Julius Malema, arguing against ANC policy and calling for nationalisation of the economy. This, ostensibly, led to Masina being reprimanded behind closed doors.

Instead of heeding the ruling party’s warning, Masina doubled-down and launched a late-night tirade against the ANC via Twitter on Monday. Claiming that the ANC was attempting to suppress his views, Masina said:

“I’m not a coward. Kill me if you can, I fear no one.”

Masina added that he was prepared to resign in order to preserve his integrity and perspective, challenging the ruling party to remove him as mayor.

Following Masina’s outburst, the ANC issued a statement condemning the use of social media to challenge official party policy. The mayor’s Twitter account was temporarily deactivated.

According to the ANC in Ekurhuleni, a special meeting was convened on Tuesday to discuss Masina’s comments and finalise an appropriate form of recourse. It’s alleged that Masina has since backtracked on his threat to resign as mayor of Ekurhuleni.

‘Nationalisation must happen’

Masina was, however, taken to task over comments during a parliamentary briefing by Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality on its COVID-19 response plan on Wednesday morning. Mike Waters, of the Democratic Alliance (DA), condemned Masina’s support for “collapsing the white economy” and promulgating racial division.

In his reply, Masina defended his call for nationalisation but denied calling for the collapse of the white economy, saying:

“The article that was attached [‘Let the white economy collapse, says Malema’], it had a comment from me which stated specifically that with regards to nationalising the commanding heights of the economy is what must happen. That’s what I said.

If I agreed with the document entirely… in Twitter, you have characters [limit] you can’t just type everything… I would’ve just shared the article and said nothing.

But the fact that I said I agreed with him [Malema] on this specific thing… I don’t know why Waters wants to force me to his views.”

Mzwandile Masina on the ‘Cuban vaccine’

On 18 March, during his State of the City address, Masina caused an outcry when he claimed that the municipality’s emergency funds would be used to procure COVID-19 “vaccine Inferon B from Cuba”.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organisation (WHO) confirm that no COVID-19 vaccine exists and that medical trials would likely be completed in 2021.

The Ekurhuleni mayor was condemned for his utterance, with some even calling for Masina to be charged with disseminating fake news about COVID-19 during a National State of Disaster. During the parliamentary briefing on Wednesday, Waters called for Masina to account for the baseless, and potentially harmful, vaccine claims.

Masina argued that, because the matter had potentially legal consequences, he wasn’t able to divulge too much information, but noted:

“I know I am before the Public Protector — he [Waters] has taken me there on the same lies as the vaccine – that’s the proper place where I will be able to ventilate my side.

I don’t know where he gets the speech because the speech that was handed as a record is very clear that we are looking for anything that is possible, within the ambit of the law. Hence, I now have an official response from government that says they are not limiting us from getting medication.

I talked about the vaccine, the drug and molecule; I didn’t talk about one thing. I said any other that we can find, including the one that I had heard about from Cuba.”

Masina refused to divulge information relating to his ongoing battle with the ANC.

Source: The South African Read More

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