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In this podcast, ActionSA founder and leader Herman Mashaba explains why the attraction of former DA heavyweight Athol Trollip is such a coup for his party. The news created a stir in the Eastern Cape where the popular Trollip will lead ActionSA’s 2024 election charge. Mashaba also addresses apparent ructions within the young party, including the fracas over its KZN leader Makhosi Khoza; and unpacks his strategy in Gauteng where the coalition’s governance of Ekurhuleni and Johannesburg is looking increasingly fragile.
Herman Mashaba on Athol Trollip joining ActionSA as the party’s Eastern Cape chair
It came about when we launched the people’s dialogue in 2019. After I resigned from the DA, I tried to meet with him and unfortunately, I couldn’t. I let it go because we were overwhelmed by the response of the people’s dialogue. So, I focused on that before inviting people to join, as the whole idea behind the people’s dialogue was to establish whether people who were calling for me to start a political party were real or not. When I started this project, my target was half a million people. We ended up with 4.2 million submissions. I had no choice but to start a political party, which we launched on 29 August 2020. It was in the middle of Covid-19, I was overwhelmed and had to prepare for elections with the IEC making it difficult for us to register. I made contact with Athol because I knew we were not going to contest the Eastern Cape. I then focused on the areas and municipalities where we would contest. Groundbreaking electoral reform happened. Then it dawned on me that 2024 is around the corner and I had already made a commitment that ActionSA was going to contest nationally. Upon my return from vacation at the beginning of January, I met with Athol. I thought of him as a very great, strong individual. I also had the advantage of knowing him reasonably well during my days in the DA. Eventually, last week we finalised the sign-off. My team said we should have the conference in Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality and we had people today coming all the way from Buffalo Bay to welcome Athol. I feel proud to be associated with someone like him.
On ActionSA as a vehicle to save South Africa from the ANC
The media being receptive is an understatement. We had a full house. Our national spokesperson, Lerato, organised Athol’s interviews. The poor guy, everyone is looking to talk to him. It’s been overwhelming, the news has been well received. ActionSA honestly and truly believes it has got an asset, someone with many years of experience, committed to this country. I don’t want South Africans who join us to save ActionSA. We are a vehicle to save this country from the ANC. Our preference is South Africa first. Let us put the interests of this country ahead of our political party.
On Makhosi Khoza’s resignation as KZN provincial chair and senate
We were taken by surprise when she wrote to us requesting to step down as provincial chair and senate and to serve only as ward councillor. About a week later, we learnt of her election as MPAC by the ANC. We had a senate meeting to discuss this matter and decided we cannot reverse this decision. MPAC is a very important strategic position for Makhosi to play. We left it as such and prepared a press statement, which she signed off. In January, we started getting vibes that Makhosi has been removed from the senate and provincial chair. I reported the matter to our disciplinary committee and they are pursuing it. I am really hoping to get the results of their findings and what course of action to take.
On ructions within ActionSA
For people to say ActionSA has massive ructions is absolute nonsense and an over-exaggeration. Yes, we’ve got issues which we’ve raised. We have had issues with some ambitious people who joined our party thinking we are an employment agency, claiming to be responsible for our performance. That’s the kind of nonsense. These are former members whom we’ve flushed out of our system. Some are now working with the people who are planted to cause disruptions at our meetings in Tshwane, and we are dealing with them. They are in our disciplinary committee because we are not going to tolerate this kind of anarchy in our organisation.
On the decision to step down from the council of the Johannesburg metro
I can only work so many hours. I have been in the Eastern Cape. I’m needed in Limpopo, in Mpumalanga and the Western Cape. I have to deal with all six municipalities where we’ve contested. Council work requires dedication and I was serving as a caucus leader. For our 2024 project to succeed, I needed to give someone else a chance. I decided to step down rather than fail in my duties as a caucus leader and a counsellor. 2024 is around the corner and we’ve still got to draw provincial chairpersons in four provinces. I have a huge responsibility to identify provincial leadership that can steer this movement to unseat the ANC. That’s our main objective. The only way we can remove the ANC is to recruit strong provincial leaders. Gauteng contested to take the ANC under 50%. We have taken them in the mid/lower 30s, so that says we’ve given South Africans the hope and the possibility that in 2024, ActionSA can drive the ANC way below 30%.
- SA politics’ Man of the Year – Herman Mashaba looks ahead to 2024 and an ANC-free South Africa
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