Mashaba, Trump par­al­lels are clear to see, some say

Views on im­mi­grants, crime deemed as proof

The Star Late Edition - - NEWS - LUY­OLO MKEN­TANE luy­olo.mken­

PAR­AL­LELS have been drawn be­tween Joburg mayor Her­man Mashaba and US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump af­ter the bil­lion­aire busi­ness­men raised their crit­ics’ ire through anti-es­tab­lish­ment rhetoric and hard­line views on im­mi­gra­tion.

Trump has come un­der fire for his tough talk that Mex­ico should foot the bill for a bor­der wall be­tween the two coun­tries to stop il­le­gal im­mi­grants from en­ter­ing the US, ac­cus­ing them of bring­ing drugs and crime into his coun­try and brand­ing some as rapists.

Mashaba’s re­marks on il­le­gal im­mi­grants have also landed him in hot wa­ter for de­scrib­ing them as crim­i­nals who should be treated as such.

As Roset­tenville burnt at the week­end when fed-up res­i­dents went on the ram­page, torch­ing houses de­scribed as drug dens and broth­els, in Amer­ica, Trump tweeted: “The crack­down on il­le­gal crim­i­nals is merely the keep­ing of my cam­paign prom­ise. Gang mem­bers, drug deal­ers and oth­ers are be­ing re­moved!”

This week, Trump and Mashaba sur­prised many when they axed se­nior of­fi­cials con­sid­ered part of their in­ner cir­cle.

Trump fired his na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser Michael Flynn on Mon­day, say­ing the “erod­ing level of trust” had made it im­pos­si­ble to leave him in the cru­cial po­si­tion. Flynn had ap­par­ently mis­led the White House about calls he had made to a Rus­sian di­plo­mat.

On Tues­day, Mashaba axed the metro’s po­lit­i­cal head of en­vi­ron­men­tal and in­fra­struc­ture ser­vices, An­thony Still, af­ter the pair held a “dif­fer­ence of opin­ion” on how to tackle in­ves­ti­ga­tions into al­leged fraud and cor­rup­tion within City Power.

Still later de­nied ac­cu­sa­tions by the mayor that he was in the way of fight­ing cor­rup­tion and said he stood be­hind Mashaba in root­ing out cor­rup­tion.

ANC greater Joburg spokesper­son Jolidee Ma­tongo weighed in on Still’s ax­ing and called on DA coun­cil­lors to re­sist Mashaba’s “Trump-like ten­den­cies” and be stead­fast in up­hold­ing the law.

Yes­ter­day, so­cial com­men­ta­tor Rudzani Floyd Musekwa said com­par­ing Mashaba to Trump was un­fair, although there was “a bit of ex­trem­ism” in how the mayor han­dled mat­ters. Mashaba was not a politi­cian but more of a chief ex­ec­u­tive man­ag­ing a busi­ness, “so a lot of de­ci­sions will be taken swiftly by (him­self)”.

Musekwa added Mashaba had in­her­ited a fail­ing ad­min­is­tra­tion when he took over and had worked tire­lessly to turn the sit­u­a­tion around.

“We’ve had prob­lems with il­le­gal im­mi­grants, drugs and hijacked build­ings for a very long time in Joburg. When Mashaba took over, I could see how swiftly some of the mat­ters were be­ing dealt with by the po­lice. Un­der the ANC, we couldn’t see any move­ment. What we saw was de­cay­ing in­fra­struc­ture. Look, I don’t think Mashaba is a per­fect man but he comes across as some­one who can ac­tu­ally make Joburg work,” said Musekwa.

Mashaba’s spokesper­son Tony Tav­erna-Turisan said the “fault­ily drawn par­al­lels” be­tween his boss and Trump “are at worst in­tel­lec­tu­ally disin­gen­u­ous and at best a lazy at­tempt by the city’s pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ing party (and its al­lies) to un­der­mine the im­por­tant work un­der­taken by the mayor”.

He said Mashaba had stated sev­eral times that “he wel­comes for­eign na­tion­als into our city and that they play an im­por­tant role in grow­ing our econ­omy and cre­at­ing much needed jobs. How­ever, he asks for any­one vis­it­ing our city to do so within the le­gal frame­work and to re­spect the rule of law.”

The mayor was un­apolo­get­i­cally com­mit­ted to fight­ing crime and cor­rup­tion to ben­e­fit res­i­dents and this made the ANC “so un­com­fort­able, it tells us that we are look­ing in the right places”.

Tav­erna-Turisan added: “In­ter­ven­tions by the mayor are a crack­down on all forms of crim­i­nal­ity. This crim­i­nal­ity is not lim­ited to spe­cific eth­nic­i­ties or na­tion­al­i­ties. This is a far cry from the agenda set by Trump’s ad­min­is­tra­tion. The only true point of con­gru­ency be­tween the mayor and Trump is that they’re both for­mer busi­ness­men and new to pub­lic of­fice.” @luy­olomken­tane

‘BIT OF EX­TREM­ISM’: Joburg mayor Her­man Mashaba

HARDLINER: US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump

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