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In Part Three of Herman Mashaba’s keynote to the BizNews 10th birthday celebration, the leader of Action SA engaged with the 200 delegates, answering questions about his political views, leadership, and his concerns for South Africa. He expresses trust in Gayton McKenzie over the DA, discusses the integration of spirituality into governance, outlines plans for his party’s structure, and shares strategies to tackle unemployment. He also highlights his fight for justice, concern for the country’s future, and the challenges and threats he faces.
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Edited transcript of the engagement with the audience by Herman Mashaba at the 10th BizNews birthday celebration.
Alec Hogg: Time for questions. Thank you, Herman.
Rob Hersov: Is the DA right? And am I wrong about supporting Gayton McKenzie? Help me here; I’m happy to be wrong.
Herman Mashaba: Well, I mean no offence, but in terms of trust, I can tell you that between Gayton and DA, I trust Gayton more than I trust the DA. DA’s let me down so many times, while Gayton never once went against what was agreed. That’s it.
Alec Hogg: So, Rob, you’re not going to drop PA and Gayton after that, I’m sure.
BizNews Community member: How, if you do, do you plan on integrating Christianity and its values into your system of governance? Is there a set plan or idea of how you’re going to do that?
Herman Mashaba: No, I’m talking about integrating Christianity but spirituality and spiritual consciousness. I’m a proud Christian, but I exist with my Muslim, Jewish, Hindu friends because all of us believe in God.
Alec Hogg: So, a higher power?
Herman Mashaba: Absolutely.
BizNews Community member: Mr. Mashaba, thanks for starting Action SA. I think there’s a big chance you’re not going to be the sixth biggest party after the 2024 election. Probably going to be in the top three. What processes are you putting in place to structure your party for that?
Herman Mashaba: We’re having our first conference on the 14th of September. We are running round table engagements now with various experts. We will detail the event; it’s a three-day event covered by all the media houses, so you will see our resolutions in terms of our policies. We are a free market economy, and we need to ensure the sovereignty and borders of our country. South Africa is a special country with a lot of international support, but unfortunately, we’re let down by our political leadership.
BizNews Community member: We are living in a country where youth unemployment is very high, and national unemployment is also very high. What is your strategy for next year to give people hope? Also, I’m a young professional who wants to get involved, but I’m concerned about political killings. What are your thoughts?
Herman Mashaba: Well, honestly, the question of having the courage to do what is best is an individual choice. I find it very strange that people were prepared to face the apartheid bullets, but today they’re too scared to speak because they might lose their job or the ANC might make life difficult for them.
I took that decision long before I thought I would solve the country’s problem. I voted for the ANC twice in 1994 and 1999, but during Thabo Mbeki’s era, I started seeing the criminality of the ANC, and I began speaking about the destructive nature of the ANC’s tripartite alliance.
How can we have a country where the economic growth rate is lower than the population growth, yet have a communist as a minister of trade and industry? Something is wrong with us South Africans. Minister Patel and before him Alec Erwin, both communists, controlled such a critical aspect of our nation.
It’s really awful for all of us, blacks and whites. Yesterday, we had a march with thousands of people, including our white members. When you go out there, white people are too scared to come on because they think they’re going to be called racist. And blacks are worried that they’ll be called something else. But when they hear what I’ve said, the EFF and ANC people will be calling me a “House Negro” and saying I’m captured by white monopoly capital.
Your follow-up to say that you’re concerned about the ‘captured black guy’ should not distract you. I fight for what is just and true. You either like me or hate me, but people must understand I wasn’t brought into this world to make friends, though I value friendship. Fighting for justice is important to me. I’m in this job because I’m worried about the future of my children and grandchildren. I don’t want my children to live in chaos, in a country where 70 people are murdered every day. I don’t want my daughter or fellow women to be raped, or our lives to be destroyed by international drug syndicates. When we talk about it, they’ll call us xenophobic. To hell with them. I’m not going to be scared of democracy. I was never scared of the apartheid regime, and I’m not here for friendship. I’m here to do what is best for my country, to the best of my ability.
Alec Hogg: I think with very few exceptions, everyone in this room, the BizNews tribe, is on the same page. When you talk about speaking up, about being involved, about fighting for this country, it’s what people like Rob Hersov did, and it’s what you’re doing. You’re putting your head above the parapet to make a contribution, and that’s why you’re here with us today. Thank you.
BizNews Community member (Olivia): In an interview on BizNews with Chris Steyn, Dr. Albert, a Leadership Diagnostician, stated that Herman Mashaba was a wonderful leader in a country where leaders had lost their way because they were focused on their own gains. He said, “Herman Mashaba has done something different, and I see it in action.” When you took over the mayorship of Johannesburg, he said, “Your policy was how I can serve you, the people.” My hope is that circumstances and time do not change your mindset.
Herman Mashaba: Fortunately, I’m not in politics to deprive myself of time with my family. I’ve been married for 41 years, and I feel so bad every time I must leave home. I’m not in this game to make money; my wife and family have been very supportive of this project for South Africa because they know my circumstances. I was born in abject poverty, living most of my youth in a two-roomed tin house. My father died when I was two, and I didn’t have a house of my own until I was 26.
I’m not in politics to make money; it’s a very expensive sport to play. There are even threats on my life, and the police are not doing anything about it. If they won’t protect someone like me, what about an ordinary person in Gugulethu or Temba Hammanskraal? Seventy people are murdered every day in this country, and our minister of police seems more focused on appearances than action.
I’m in this job because I want to live in a country where my children can have a better life. I lived more than half of my life under the apartheid system, and I had to become a master at evading the police. Now, 29 years into our democracy, the inequality in this country is heart-wrenching. I’ve never seen poverty like this, even during apartheid. It’s to the point where I need sleeping tablets to sleep at night, because of what I witness in poor communities. Before, when I was making money in business, a little wine or whisky would suffice. Now, without a sleeping tablet, I won’t sleep at all.
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