Johannesburg - Standard Bank Group, Africa’s biggest lender, said it suspended economist Chris Hart while he faces disciplinary action for comments he made on Twitter that may have “racist undertones.”

The Johannesburg-based lender said on its website it distanced itself from Hart’s comments on January 3, in which he said the victims of apartheid are “increasing along with a sense of entitlement and hatred towards minorities.”

The statement caused a backlash on Twitter from people calling him a racist and urging Standard Bank clients to boycott the lender.

Hart later apologised in a Twitter post, saying that he didn’t intend to cause offense and that his comments were meant to be read in the context of a slowing economy.

Standard Bank said his earlier statements were “factually incorrect, make inappropriate assumptions about South Africa and have racist undertones”.