ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba introduces new candidates selection system
Pretoria - Leader of ActionSA Herman Mashaba believes that it is about time South Africans begin to vote directly for their public representatives through the primary election system.
Mashaba expressed the view yesterday during the virtual launch of the primaries system, commonly practised in the US.
He described the system as “a game-changer in the South African political environment”, which would see his party working in tandem with communities to select suitable candidates to contest in the coming municipal election. He said the system was endorsed by at least 2.4 million people who participated in the People’s Dialogue platform he embarked upon to solicit their views about the future they want for the country.
According to him, one of the values shared by the participants was about electoral reform, which subsequently led to the launch of the primaries system. Mashaba said: “More specifically, direct democracy and in other words the belief that South Africans should be able to vote directly for the people that represent them and not just political parties.” He criticised the current political system, saying that it encouraged party loyalty over accountability to the voters.
“Today ActionSA is announcing that we are going to open our candidates’ election processes to the community of Gauteng.
“This is similar to the system of primary elections in countries such as the US. Importantly, to participate, you don’t have to be a member of ActionSA; you just have to be a registered voter with the IEC.”
He said ActionSA would be the first political party to partner “with the community to elect the candidates to contest the 2021 local government elections”.
According to him, this course of action will “get the best candidates because communities will choose them for the right reasons”.
He said the system would afford communities the chance to choose candidates who were committed to be accountable to them.
“If communities are dissatisfied with the ActionSA councillor they will be replaced using the very same system and elect a new candidate for them,” Mashaba said. ActionSA national chairperson Michael Beaumont said that the candidates’ election policy empowered the party’s candidate election committee to do the necessary vetting and screening of potential public representatives.
“While we believe the people must determine who should represent them, we do not take away the fact that we have the responsibility not to put people in front of them who are dishonest or who have committed crime in the past or anything of that nature,” he said.
A candidate would have to prove that he or she lives in the particular municipality and the ward where they are applying to be elected.