Johannesburg - Herman Mashaba doesn’t feel he can be the mayor of Johannesburg, not when his party only garnered 16.08% of the vote in the city. The leader of ActionSA, said the decision of whether he wears the mayoral chain does not lie with his party, but he’s ready to talk to anyone, anyone besides the ANC.
“Don’t call us. We will call you. Even then, it wouldn’t be in the next 300 years,” was his reply when asked about a coalition with the ANC in Johannesburg.
Even if the party were to engage in coalition talks with other parties, Mashaba did not mince his words when he said the DA has to humble itself and even he cannot enter any talks with “arrogance”.
Mashaba resigned from the DA in 2019 and told Saturday Star the party wanted him to be the mayor of “grass cutting in Sandton”.
“Coalitions in SA are not new. The DA needs to humble itself. We need humility. We will not tolerate anything else,” he said in a reply as to whether he was sitting at the phone waiting for possible coalition partners to contact him. ActionSA has been touted as king-maker following the party’s surprise showing in the 2021 Local Government Elections.
Mashaba is adamant that being mayor is not top of mind and that his main goal is to save the people of SA from the ANC.
“The voters have spoken. They punished the ANC and the DA. The ANC dropped from 44% in 2016 to 33% in 2021. The DA dropped from 38% in 2016 to 25% in 2021. The voters, across the board, have made it clear that ActionSA is the only party who can rescue SA,” said Mashaba.
The former mayor continued to lament the decision by the IEC not to have the party’s name spelt out in full on the ballot paper and said they are waiting on a decision by the electoral court to see if that decision by the IEC negatively affected ActionSA’s performance.
“ I still believe there is a lack of voter education. Well, if you look at the education this country receives under Blade (Nzimande), Angie (Motshekga) and Sadtu, it’s clear they want to keep black people poor. Not even to talk about how the ANC went into communities and told them not to vote for ActionSA. We still don’t know what impact that had on our performance,” he said.
Mashaba said while he’s proud of the party’s performance, he had hoped that ActionSA would come out as the majority winner in Johannesburg.
“We are not cry babies. But the ANC and the IEC showed their true colours. We are happy with our 44 seats, and now the journey to 2024 has started.” he said.
Mashaba said when he resigned from the DA, 2.4 million South Africans from all walks of life gave ActionSA the mandate to start a new party and start paving a new way for SA politics.
“Civil society will be the vaccine that we will administer in 2024. We want to unseat the ANC. A prosperous SA and the ANC cannot coexist. One of them has to die, and it cannot be SA. We are clear and unapologetic in our goal to make sure that the ANC gets under 30% of the vote in 2024. We want to banish the ANC to the dustbins of history,” said a fired-up Mashaba, not concealing his disdain for the ruling party.
The goings-on at Eskom has been a heartache for many Gautengers, and Mashaba indicated that one of his key areas of focus would be to engage Eskom on the load shedding saga.
“I promised the people of Soweto that I will look into this issue. I will engage national government for private electricity suppliers. Soweto has been abused by the ANC. Gauteng has been abused by the ANC,” he said.
Mashaba reminded Gautengers that when ActionSA was launched on August 29, 2020, he was the first to remind residents of his failures as mayor under the DA-run council.
“Despite my failures as mayor, we are the only political party with a support base from South Africans across the political spectrum. We are a true reflection of the real SA,” he said.
Mashaba said although politics is a “brutal” job, it is rewarding.
“For me, this is not about enjoyment. I do miss making money, but my family and I decided that we are not going anywhere. My son said to me the other night that I look tired, but my wife said I did well, and while they missed me, they knew what I had to do. We are staying. When I was born 62 years ago, my grandfather called me Highman. I was always going to do great things” said a determined Mashaba.
As for coalitions Mashaba said: “ Their people can call my people”.