Four times Herman Mashaba made headlines this year

06 December 2018 - 09:19 By Odwa Mjo
City of Johannesburg Herman Mashaba
City of Johannesburg Herman Mashaba
Image: Sunday Times

The mayor of Johannesburg is known for being very vocal on certain matters. His comments and actions have often landed into hot water, both legally and in the court of public opinion. Here are four times Herman Mashaba made headlines this year:

1. Citizen's arrest

The mayor received plenty of backlash after making his first citizen's arrest in November when he spotted a trader pushing a trolley with several cow heads in the Johannesburg CBD. 

Mashaba said the man's actions were unlawful and a health hazard. According to the City of Johannesburg, "the trader violated the act which stipulates how raw meat ought to be stored and transported."

Despite Mashaba's legal argument, his actions were not well received by many, on the grounds that he was discriminating against small businesses.

Mashaba caused more havoc when he tweeted that carrying carcasses in public can bring about Ebola. His tweet was viewed by the Human Rights Commission as borderline xenophobia. After admitting to wrongdoing, Mashaba reached a settlement with the commission to participate in a specialised human rights workshops and a social cohesion summit 

Mashaba eventually apologised for his remarks, saying it was never his intention for his comments to be "constructed as an attack on any person or group." 

2. Ramaphosa vs Trump 

Earlier in the year, Mashaba caught heat after sharing a picture that compared President Cyril Ramaphosa to Donald Trump, listing Trump's successes versus Ramaphosa's "failures". 

The mayor defended the tweet on the grounds that he was not comparing their styles of leadership but rather the performance of the two countries. 

3. Mashaba vs Parks Tau

The mayor opened a case of defamation against his predecessor, Parks Tau, to force him to apologise for accusing him of being racist and sexist at the funeral of  Joburg councillor Nonhlanhla Mthembu in 2016.

The matter was heard in the Johannesburg High Court on Monday, with Mashaba's lawyer Dali Mpofu saying Tau must issue an apology for his comments.

"We would like councillor Tau to apologise unconditionally and retract the statements against me," said Mashaba. "I will look to other options with my lawyers to make sure that my dignity is restored."

Judgment was reserved, with Judge Willem van der Linde yet to inform both parties when his ruling would be handed down. 

4. Crackdown on churches 

The mayor said the City of Johannesburg has a bigger problem with churches than with shebeens.

Mashaba tweeted this in November after the launch of the Joburg Social Housing Project in Turffontein. At the launch he made a controversial appeal to residents: firstly that the new project is meant strictly for poor South Africans, and secondly that no churches and shebeens would be allowed in the project.