Economist Chris Hart has released a statement detailing why he chose to resign from Standard Bank after being criticized on social media for an alleged ‘racist’ tweet.
Hart was suspended by Standard Bank on 4 January 2016, pending an inquiry into the incident in which Hart wrote: “More than 25 years after Apartheid ended, the victims are increasing along with a sense of entitlement and hatred towards minorities…”
The tweet was part of a series of posts, but that particular post drew strong criticism, with users calling on Standard Bank to take action against the respected economist.
Hart later apologised: “This tweet has caused offense – never intended for which I apologise wholeheartedly. Meant to be read in context of slow growth.”
The economist has not been active on Twitter since January 2016.
Following his resignation, Hart released a statement saying that, even though he was not guilty of any wrongdoing, after consultation he decided to step away from the position and pursue “alternative opportunities”.
One opportunity is to establish an investment fund aimed at job creation, as well as consultation jobs.
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.
Standard Bank said in a brief statement on Monday: “Chris Hart, an Investment Strategist at Standard Bank Wealth and Investment has resigned and has left the employ of the bank.”