Former Democratic Alliance Parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko has hit out at an elderly white South African who she thought was emigrating to New Zealand. On 21st January Richard Muller posted the image of a New Zealand entry stamp on Twitter with the comment:
And so South Africa loses another productive, employment creating family..— Richard Muller (@Dick_Muller) January 21, 2020
Tired of paying more than R400,000 p.a. in income taxes for zero family benefit. Tired of crime, of living in fear, of endless, unpunished state theft & corruption. Of reading about it all by candlelight pic.twitter.com/ly6vUsDEGH
After Julius Malema retweeted the comment Muller was subjected to a torrent of racial abuse by the EFF leader’s huge troll army.
We lived here for 400yrs of their brutality... we stuck around for the worst.... we don't have other places to go to... they must voetsek and never return! They were never welcome here— AntitheisticaLee ❤💚🖤 (@UnmovedLee) January 21, 2020
On Thursday Mazibuko joined in the criticism of Mr Muller with a powerful and emotive Tweet:
My parents who spent their whole working lives paying taxes under apartheid so that you could go to school for free when we couldn’t, access free healthcare that we couldn’t, and enjoy protection from police that either ignored or brutalized us, wish you well for your new life. https://t.co/LGjEOxuOQs— Lindiwe Mazibuko (@LindiMazibuko) January 23, 2020
Mazibuko’s comments were commended by many and criticised by some for being misleading, given her family background.
According to her biographer Donwald Pressley Mazibuko was born in Swaziland in 1980 where her father, who was the child of South African immigrants, was a Barclays bank manager. Her mother, who was born in 1949, was raised and educated in South Africa.
The family moved to Durban in 1986 after her father was head-hunted by African Bank. Given that the Group Areas Act was still in effect at the time the family was not able to move into the suburbs and had to build their home in uMlazi township. She and her siblings attended a Jewish primary school in the city. She would later go on to matriculate from St Mary’s DSG in Kloof in 1997.
Her mother studied to be a nurse through Unisa in the late 1980s. The family though was hit by tragedy with the brutal murder of Mazibuko’s father in 1992. In 2001 Mazibuko’s mother established a company, Umvutho Oil and Energy Pty Ltd, along with several friends and relatives that has benefited – at least to some degree – from the ANC government’s Black Economic Empowerment policies.
The apartheid-era policies Mazibuko describes, while true of the first three decades of National Party rule and from which Mr Muller may well have benefited, decreasingly applied by the time her family had arrived in South Africa. The national budget had become increasingly redistributive through the last decade of NP rule (and even more highly redistributive after 1994).
In a 2001 academic article Nicoli Nattrass and Jeremy Seekings noted that by 1993/4:
“The South African budget was more redistributive than the budget in other middle-income economies (such as Chile, Brazil, and Argentina, although it was less redistributive than the budgets of advanced capitalist economies). This reflected a combination of factors on both the taxation and expenditure sides. Income tax constitutes a comparatively high proportion of total tax revenue in South Africa.
On the expenditure side, the democratic South African state inherited a means-tested, noncontributory old-age pension system that had, with the deracialization of benefits (completed in 1993), become well targeted on the poor, together with an education system that may have had enduring interracial and interclass inequalities but was nonetheless less inegalitarian than in Brazil, for example (at least in terms of the number of grades completed, since secondary-school enrollment is very high among the poor in South Africa).”
In any event, the debate around the veracity (or otherwise) of Mazibuko’s original comment was rendered largely moot by Mr Muller’s subsequent clarification that he was not referring to himself but to another family, whose race remains unknown.
While a bit sleepy at 3:30am one day earlier this week, I carelessly didn’t clarify that it’s friends who sent me the image I then tweeted. I - Yay! - am still very much at home in SA. 😇— Richard Muller (@Dick_Muller) January 23, 2020
Sorry to all disappointed by this news (& to the fools who think only white ppl leave SA)