One SA Movement leader Mmusi Maimane was among the first South Africans to try to capitalise on SA-born tech entrepreneur Elon Musk’s new status as the world’s richest person.
Musk, a former Pretoria Boys High school pupil, this week surpassed Amazon’s Jeff Bezos after a surge in the Tesla share price.
His net worth is now more than $188.5bn (about R2.9-trillion), $1.5bn more than Bezos’s, Bloomberg reported.
After being besieged by tongue-in-cheek requests for loans and handouts on Twitter, Musk tweeted that he might be in the market for some social responsibility projects, saying “critical feedback is always super appreciated, as well as ways to donate money that really make a difference (way harder than it seems)”.
Maimane, never one to let an opportunity pass, replied with: “Hi Elon where can South Africans with disruptive ideas about fixing the country make proposals. I for one have some ideas about how to fix the education sector in this country outside of the clutches of a corrupt government and I would love to present something to you.”
But not everyone responded positively to Maimane’s tweet. MandaKinghorn responded: “Gaan bedel by die robot. Elon is NIKS verskuldig aan SA nie!” the robot, Elon owes NOTHING to SA).
Speaking to Sunday Times yesterday Maimane said he had reached out to Musk because education in SA needs to be reformed.
He said he had also drafted a letter to Musk, asking him to assist in building “blended education” in SA.
“People like Elon Musk have shown innovation in the world … we are asking him to say ‘let’s create innovative industries for the future’.”
The former DA leader said artificial intelligence and coding were the future and people like Musk could help SA keep pace.
“We need that innovative sense, we need that education plan and we need that intervention in terms of taking our education and making sure our kids are on a digital platform,” said Maimane.
Musk, who has 41-million Twitter followers, has received hundreds of suggestions about good causes to support, from dog rescue organisations to “highimpact” charities.
Bloomberg said Musk’s personal wealth was boosted by a more than eightfold surge in the Tesla share price last year. Tesla became the world’s most valuable carmaker.