Chris Hart is a South African economist, with a vast knowledge in financial markets and an ability to relay is knowledge in a simple, easily understood term. Hart is a independent financial market strategist and the co-author of the book ‘Half Way There’.
Chris Hart; known as “@chrishartZA” on twitter, got twitter buzzing on the 3rd of January 2016. Hart tweeted: “More than 25 years after Apartheid ended, the victims are increasing along with a sense of entitlement and hatred towards minorities….”
Hart’s tweet was considered to be racist by a large pull of people on twitter. This led to a further apology tweet by Hart, saying: “This tweet has caused offense – never intended for which i apologise wholeheartedly. Meant to be read in context of slow growth”
“For transformation and exclusion to be resolved, SA needs a massive expansion. The economy is currently way too small,” Chris added.
Just two days after the twitter incident, the ANCYL said it would call for a national boycott if Standard Bank did not fire Chris Hart. On that same day, the ANCYL Gauteng chairperson ‘Matome Chiloane’ said “Within its corporate corridors, racism and apartheid is still alive”. This occurred during a march to the bank’s headquarters in Johannesburg CBD.
Matome Chiloane further went on to say: “We want him to get fired, because if they don’t fire him, we are going to advice on an economic boycott. We are going to advice all Africans, in particular black people, that they must close their accounts with that bank because it is harbouring racists”.
Following Hart’s tweet which was widely misunderstood; Standard Bank immediately posted a tweet a day after, distancing itself from Hart’s tweet, saying: “We do not endorse comments made by @chrishartZA yesterday”.
The bank also announced the suspension of Hart, pending an inquiry on January 4th (the same day the bank posted its tweet) following a “racist2 tweet. Unfortunately, shortly two months after the twitter incident, Chris resigned from the bank.
After his resignation, Hart released a statement highlighting the fact that; even though he was not guilty of any wrongdoing, he decided to step away from the position and pursue alternative opportunities. Here is the full statement from Hart:
I voluntarily resigned from Standard Bank in the wake of an unfortunate social media event at the start of the year. Although I have not been found guilty of any wrongdoing after extensive consultation, it is my preference to pursue alternative opportunities.
One of these opportunities includes the establishment of an impact investment fund aimed at job creation, while at the same time providing enhanced returns at lower risk for investors.
Another opportunity is in consulting and speaking where some of the challenges facing the South African economy and business community can be fully studied and analysed.
I am convinced that South Africa remains a high potential country if its socio-economic challenges are successfully addressed through appropriate public policy.
In addition, I hope to work with CPG and their South Africa Day project, which is aimed at nation building through grassroots community building and upliftment.
I strongly believe that a key cause of socio-economic problems is massive unemployment, and that job creation should be at the pinnacle of policy formulation.
South Africa’s challenges are not insurmountable as long as our Constitution remains intact with the rights and freedoms embodied in it for the protection and benefit of all South Africans.
My engagement on Twitter is always intended to generate healthy and robust debate. It is also intended that we gain a greater understanding of issues and each other. There is no monopoly on right and being offensive is regrettable and not intended.