Standard Bank economist resigns after controversial Twitter comment

15 March 2016 - 13:28 By TJ Strydom

Standard Bank said an economist who was suspended for a controversial tweet that prompted mostly black youths to march to the lender's offices in downtown Johannesburg has resigned.

Chris Hart, a white, suggested on Twitter in January that more than two decades of black majority rule had perpetuated poverty and entrenched a tendency to blame whites for all of the country's ills.

He apologised for his tweet at the time and suggested it had been misunderstood when taken out of the context of other tweets. He was unavailable for comment on Tuesday.

Hart was suspended by Standard Bank after his comments caused outrage on Twitter and its CEO Sim Tshabala flagged racism as a drag on the economy.

"Chris Hart, an Investment Strategist at Standard Bank Wealth and Investment has resigned and has left the employ of the bank," the bank said in a statement issued late on Monday.

The episode highlighted how racial tensions simmer in Africa's most industrialised economy more than two decades after the end of white minority rule under apartheid when Nelson Mandela become its first black president.

Wealth and income gaps are however still clearly visible along race lines fuelling perceptions of white privilege.

- Reuters

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