🔒 PREMIUM: BNC#5 Herman Mashaba shares his strategy – how ActionSA will unseat the ‘criminal enterprise’ ANC

The Herman Mashaba who returned to the Drakensberg to address the fifth BizNews Conference came from a different place to the one whose opening keynote thrilled delegates to the first such event. Mashaba was then planning the creation of a new political entity. Now he heads the country’s fastest-growing political party – one that has come from nowhere to poll double figures wherever it contests by-elections. Mashaba explained to BNC#5 attendees why, by size and seats in Parliament, ActionSA is set to be the biggest or a close second of all political parties after the 2024 National Election.


See timestamped topics below:

  • 00:00 Alec Hogg’s introduction of Herman Mashaba
  • 00:38 Herman Mashaba on his introduction to the world of politics
  • 02:25 On his betrayal by the DA 
  • 04:50 On the reason he is in politics and the timeline of his political affiliations 
  • 08:55 On ActionSA being a non-racial political party
  • 09:23 On economic prosperity and being a capitalist
  • 11:39 On the importance of social justice
  • 13:12 On education being critical to rebuilding this country
  • 14:09 On political accountability and ActionSA’s exceptional growth since 2020
  • 19:42 On ActionSA’s recent launch of the South African Dream project
  • 20:18 On education and voter apathy21:15 The road to the 2024 National Election for ActionSA

Extracts from the BNC#5 presentation by ActionSA’s Herman Mashaba:

Herman Mashaba on the betrayals he has faced in the past 

I left my business in 2015. I got crazy thinking that I could fix the world. I didn’t really realise I was getting into a jungle – the politics of my country. I got into politics because I wanted to unseat the ANC. I was angry. I felt betrayed. In fact, I still feel betrayed. I said, no, let me fix this situation by getting into politics to go and fix this disappointment and betrayal of the ANC. Unfortunately for me, I happened to be the mayor of the city of Johannesburg, and the party I represented betrayed me even worse than the ANC. And for some reason, the people of this country asked me to start my own political party. I didn’t realise at the time, during the three years I was the mayor, that I’d made an impression on South Africans. I honestly did not. I just really wanted to work and do the best for my country. 

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Unfortunately, it really so happened and transpired that I was called an EFF mayor, discovered 35 billion rands of fraud and corruption of the ANC, and had no support whatsoever from our criminal justice system. My party said no, I must go and cut grass in Sandton, where I live. And I said, “But how must I go and cut grass? This is all I’ve got.” So, unfortunately for me, the betrayal came when my party went into secret negotiations facilitated by the Institute of Race Relations to remove me. The ANC and the DA had secret meetings to have a motion of no confidence against me. So luckily, I wasn’t born yesterday. So I got to know about the secret meetings, and I decided, “You know what? Being the mayor is the last job in the world I want.”

And when I announced my resignation, the people of South Africa said to me, “Start your own political party.” So I’m in this business to unseat the ANC. As much as I hate this job, I’m going to do it until the ANC is removed from power. So, if any of you here is a member of the ANC or you’ve got any affiliation, and you don’t like some of the things that I’m going to say about the ANC – tough luck. It’s your problem, not mine. I’m in this business to unseat and democratically remove the ANC, and that’s the reason why I’ve gone into politics. 

On ActionSA being a non-racial political party

We had to agree on forming a non-racial party. So that’s why I make it clear to everyone. If you are looking for a racial party, please go somewhere else. We are a party for South Africans, so we don’t want anything to do with being told about race-based legislation and discriminating against South Africans around race. We must all be South Africans first before I can be black. It’s not negotiable. 

Read more: Ramaphosa’s cabinet reshuffle: Delayed, bloated, and disappointing – Ivo Vegter

On economic prosperity and being a capitalist

Talk about economic prosperity. I’m a capitalist. I’m sure you’re aware. I wrote a book a few years ago called Capitalist Crusader. I am unapologetic about my love for capitalism. So if you don’t really believe in capitalism, then don’t support ActionSA. I believe in social justice. I really do. I was born in poverty. You obviously want to really know about my life. I was born in a child-headed household. Fortunately, I wrote a book a few years ago called Black Like You. This is my autobiography. I know what it is like to be born in poverty. At the age of 22, I made a decision to liberate myself. I said, “I’m going into business.” P.W. Botha said, “Herman, you’re not going to go into business.” I said to Mr Botha, “You can do this to all the black people. Herman Mashaba, no. You’re not going to do that.” 

At the age of 22, I went into business in this country. At 24, I managed to start my own factory in 1985 called Black Like Me. With a 30,000 rands loan – a black businessman who got an Afrikaner from Boksburg, Johan Gril, to be my production director and my partner. We had equal shares in the business. I raised the money myself. We started the business in a 200 square meter factory at prime plus ten plus 25% shares. 

As an entrepreneur in the world, you can do your studies with business schools all over the world – my funding was one of the most expensive in the world. But within five years, by 1990, when Mandela was released, I had already built my own state-of-the-art factory. 10 million rands. I did not owe anyone a cent for it. So that’s why I know that in business if you want to liberate yourself, capitalism is the system that’s going to really help us. But at the end of the day, social justice is important.

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