Mashaba: Decriminalise prostitution, commercialise ESKOM, bury BEE… – and the “Better Devils” of the Multi-Party Charter…

ActionSA’s leader Herman Mashaba explains the thinking behind the tough policy resolutions adopted by his party at its recent inaugural policy conference attended by 600 delegates from all nine provinces. Mashaba reveals how he was convinced to abandon his strong position on bringing back the death penalty. He unpacks the motivations behind the party’s policy resolutions on the rule of law, drug dealing, illegal immigration, the energy crisis, BEE, governance, lifestyle audits, and international relations. He also gives an update on his party’s growth in support – and speaks frankly about its membership of the Multi-Party Charter. – Chris Steyn

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Relevant timestamps from the interview

  • 00:00 – Intro
  • 00: 29 – Herman Mashaba on Action SA’s inaugural policy conference
  • 05: 42 – On resolutions surrounding drug use
  • 06:39 – Should drug users be punished?
  • 08:24 – On decriminalising Prostitution
  • 10:04 – Action SA’s plans to address load-shedding
  • 10:42 – On BEE
  • 12:50 – On Action SA’s cabinet size
  • 15:46 – On Action SA’s party membership growth
  • 16:37 – His 2024 election forecast
  • 20:31 – How the coalition pact is holding up
  • 22:18 – Concludes

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Highlights from the interview

ActionSA’s Leader Herman Mashaba has given BizNews a wide-ranging interview on the tough policy resolutions adopted by his party at its recent inaugural policy conference.

The Rule of Law:

We’ve agreed we must bring specialised units like what we had Chapter Nine institutions, like The Scorpions to deal with the level of corruption so that anyone involved in corruption, they must go to jail and go to jail for a long time with no chance of parole…our jails are serving like … a drive-through kind of situation we just witnessed what happened to Jacob Zuma…We must not even give them bail. And when they serve 15 years or 25 years or life, it must be life without parole and involving hard labour to pay back to society. We…as Action SA, we don’t see why prisoners who have committed such heinous crimes to society must be given a chance to vote. We are saying we want to take away the right to vote because we cannot really see how can they have the rights after really destroying and harming society.

Drug Dealing:

…drug dealers, we are going to be after them. And I can tell you, we get them, they are found guilty through the normal judicial system, they will never see the outside of jail any longer. And they will work to pay back society for the damage that they’ve caused in disrupting our families.

Drug Users:

No, we don’t really believe the focus should really be on the drug users because if you destroy the supply of these dangerous drugs into our nation, our people will be free from drugs. People are using drugs because, firstly, no education, no job opportunities, families are being disrupted…I view them as victims. So let’s, on a short-term measure, build rehab centres where we can really give them the necessary support to really get this evil out of their system.

Decriminalisation of Prostitution: 

…I don’t understand how anyone in this day and age would want to spend our limited resources on prosecuting poor women who are really not really doing this business because they like to do it. Women who actually get involved in prostitution, are those where there are no opportunities. …Let us ensure that we protect these women right now in a current environment, in any country where prostitution is not permitted, the people who get away are the pimps who are actually the ones actually making more money than these women, who are not protected….So we believe prostitution has got to really be decriminalised. And we strongly believe if you decriminalise it, you create employment opportunities, you create the right education framework. The number of women going into prostitution will be honestly very less. Women going to prostitution because of the desperation of not getting employment opportunity, being exploited by others. So… we believe decriminalising prostitution is the right way to do it.

The Energy Crisis:

So we believe ESKOM must run in competition with the private sector…putting professional people to run ESKOM, and they must run it on a commercial basis. If they can’t make money, they cannot run it in a commercial manner, let it die a natural death, but at the same time, open the market up to the private sector investments.


BEE ANC policy that has failed and destroyed our economy, destroyed black businesses in the townships, creating oligarchs…So we are saying businesses must contribute a certain percentage of their profits that must actually go into what we call an opportunity fund run by private individual professional people to ensure that we can fund small businesses in the townships and communities which were failed by the ANC government…We are going to…bury it in an unmarked grave where you’ll never see it again because it’s been a very divisive destruction of a policy that created oligarchs, like what happened in Russia.


The resolution taken by our conference is that our Cabinet should not exceed 20. And we don’t need a single deputy minister….We see and view them as just an unnecessary liability to South Africa. 

Lifestyle Audits: 

We must commit to regular lifestyle audits…outcomes thereof must be made to public…your lifestyle will be in line with what South Africa pays you.

Illegal Immigration & International Relations:

…come here legally and when you are here, respect our laws. If not, I’m afraid we’ll send you back where you came from…Even in terms of international bodies, the way South Africa is right now…at the end of the day, it’s got to be our membership of those countries: do they serve the interest of South Africa? We must look at whether any association in any of the organisation must be saving South Africa first. 

The Multi-Party Charter:

There is no pact. The pact was also buried about a month ago when we signed the Multi-Party Charter for South Africa….We, as ActionSA, is still committed to this…the Multi-Party Charter, it is an insurance in the event we don’t get  outright majority at national and provincial level where we can then coalesce with parties that shares almost the same policies as us. The better devils. And I remember, in fact, in the meeting which we had a few weeks ago, I said, guys, we are not here for friendship. We are here to save South Africa. We are not here for our own personal interest…We are here to hold each other accountable. Let’s us treat ourselves to say we are better devils. There are other devils we cannot deal with, but let’s really use that analysis that we are here to work together as better devils.

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