Trouble is brewing on Derek Hanekom’s Twitter page – and this time, it has nothing to do with Jacob Zuma. The former ANC minister and stalwart of the party has reacted to the news that Pretoria-born Elon Musk is now the second-richest person in the world – by suggesting he should ‘plough his wealth’ back into South Africa.
Elon Musk and South Africa
Elon Musk left Mzansi at a young age to pursue his tech career in the US. He rose through the ranks in ‘Silicone Valley’, establishing himself as a major force in the engineering industry. He’s spent almost his entire adult life in the US, becoming a naturalised citizen in the process, and his ties to SA have been all but completely severed.
Now worth $128 billion – which is roughly R1.9 trillion – Musk is only surpassed by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos in the wealth stakes. He’s overtaken Bill Gates on the mega-rich list, as his Tesla stock continues to skyrocket.
Derek Hanekom goes cap-in-hand to Elon Musk
That success has certainly not gone unnoticed in South Africa. Hanekom, who used to lead the Tourism Ministry, has floated the idea of Elon Musk sharing some of his hard-earned cash with an economically downtrodden South Africa:
“Of course we celebrate the success [of Elon Musk]. Now wouldn’t it be wonderful if he ploughs back some of that wealth into the land of his birth!”
Hanekom hounded for Twitter suggestion
But the ANC man’s ambitious plea has been met with anger on social media. Hundreds of disparaging replies were shared underneath Hanekom’s post, and DA MP Cameron MacKenzie formed part of the pack:
"The land of his birth." Because of that, he is obligated to invest 'at home'. Trouble is @Derek_Hanekom we've got your party, CR, & crowds of demagogues telling 'whites' they're settlers, land thieves, must go back to Europe, etc. And you are silent. You can't have it both ways.
— Cameron MacKenzie MP (@CameronMacKenz2) November 25, 2020
How rich is Elon Musk?
The wealth of Elon Musk is astronomical. His fortune is almost five times more than the combined net worth of South Africa’s six dollar-billionaires. Perhaps a few billion dollars wouldn’t go amiss in SA – and if you don’t ask, you don’t get. Who knows, perhaps this Tweet forms a key part of Cyril Ramaphosa’s ‘foreign investment’ strategy?
Of course we celebrate his success. Now wouldn't it be wonderful if he ploughs back some of that wealth into the land of his birth! https://t.co/wu6GmHN5gs
— Derek Hanekom (@Derek_Hanekom) November 25, 2020