Mashaba rides on Geneva gaffe,

Former Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba. Photo: GCIS

Mashaba rides on Geneva gaffe, saying SA needs ‘education revolution’

The communications minister’s embarrassing on-air blunder appears to be the gift that keeps on giving.

Mashaba rides on Geneva gaffe,

Former Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba. Photo: GCIS

Not only has her sense of geography been questioned, but Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams also has to contend with suggestions that the quality of her education leaves much to be desired. 

Former Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba couldn’t resist taking a shot at Ndabeni-Abrahams after she insisted on live television that she and her husband went to Geneva and New York, adding that they had never been to Switzerland. The minister meant to say France and later issued a statement noting the correction.

Ndabeni-Abrahams tries to backtrack

“Earlier this morning, I had an interview on the South African Morning with Xoli Mngambi on eNCA

“A question was asked relating to a September 2019 trip to Geneva, Switzerland. When the question was raised, I erroneously referred to Switzerland instead of France, responding to the effect that my husband and I had not been to Switzerland, but Geneva.

“I profusely apologise for this error as I meant to say that we had not been to France in that particular instance, but in Geneva where Mr Abrahams had accompanied me on an official trip in line with the Ministerial Handbook. 

Herman Mashaba steps in

Seeing an opportunity to pounce on Ndabeni-Abrahams’ embarrassing gaffe, Mashaba took to Twitter to announce that he had plans to plough into education as a means to right the wrongs of the past.  

“Knowing that Geneva is in Switzerland is why I want to have an education revolution in this country.

“Only a massive new investment in education will right the wrongs of the past and empower all our people,” Mashaba wrote on Twitter.

Launch of new party

After resigning from the Democratic Alliance (DA) in November 2019, Mashaba has been coy about the details of his new party which is set to launch in June.

At first, it was believed that he would partner with Mmusi Maimane, who also stepped down from his position as DA leader around the same time. However, Mashaba has already launched The People’s Dialogue, a platform which he says will enable debate and discussion around what South Africans want to see happen in their country. 

Mashaba has also indicated that he would explore the possibility of running for Johannesburg mayor independently. 

“One thing I can confirm with you is that because we are going to form a political party, I’m making myself available to be the mayoral candidate for the City of Johannesburg. We might find someone else, but I am making myself available,” he told The Sowetan.