It’s been brutal a three years, says outgoing mayor Herman Mashaba
Share this article:
Johannesburg - This time next week, Joburg’s mayor Herman Mashaba plans to be a long way away from the city he governed for just over three years.
“I am going to be on an island somewhere, reading books, falling asleep next to the beach, snorkelling,” he says.
These are things Mashaba said he hasn’t been able to do over the past three years as he ran the country’s largest metro. In just a couple of days, he will be stepping down as mayor.
Wednesday is his last day. His businessman approach to governing, and his often take no prisoners stance, ruffled many a feather in his three years.
The ANC is happy he is going.
“It has been a brutal three years,” he sighs. For the mayor, who came into the job without a background in politics it was fly by the seat of your pants kind of stuff.
He had to learn on the job, while holding together a multiparty government, who didn’t really want him.
“I was thrown into the deep end, I had no clue what people do in the government,” he recalls. “But my biggest achievement was running this multiparty, seven-way government.”
This was a task, he said, that didn’t bind him to any particular party.
But Mashaba does believe he is leaving Joburg in a better state than when he stepped into office.
He points to increased infrastructure spend, over the past 18 months, and a crusade to clean out corruption.
Just on Friday, he was at the opening of the Roosevelt Park substation, which is part of a plan to improve the city’s electrical infrastructure. It had taken three years to upgrade the substation.
There will be the people that Mashaba will be leaving behind. The 10 MMCs he picked to run the city.
“They all really put up a great show,” he says.
In a couple of weeks, Mashaba will be back from his island destination, and will have to start thinking about the future. That is after he wants the country to take part in a huge debate.
“In December, I’m going to be launching a huge campaign to get
people of this country to debate how we are going to find solutions to the country’s problems. At the end of February, I will share what came out of that engagement. ”
Then after that, the millionaire has a couple of options.
“What I might look at after the break is to become a political commentator, because I can say anything and there are no consequences,” he laughs.
Another option, he jokes, is to stay at home and be unemployed.
“In the last 25 years my wife and I, we’ve paid billions, not millions into the fiscus in the way of taxes, so maybe it is time for the country to pay me back. I must sit at home and wait for Sassa.”
Then there is option three: Mashaba asks his wife for a job in the family’s business.
“So I think I’ve got lots of options, so it comes down to which one I am going to take. But I don’t need to rush.”
But in the meantime, there is a holiday to prepare for, to an undisclosed island far away from the city of Jozi.