Herman Mashaba: Why Ramaphosa must go – he’s clueless and corrupt

Action SA’s founder won’t hear any mitigating evidence in favour of SA’s beleaguered president – for him the events at Phala Phala are simply a reflection of a leader who needs to be put out to pasture. In this powerful interview with Alec Hogg of BizNews, businessman-turned-politician Herman Mashaba makes the case for ejecting both the ANC and its leader and explains why he ignores labels of “EFF lover” and “House Nigger” slung at him by opponents. There’s good news, too, about Action SA’s rapid expansion in rural areas and normalising of its relationship with the Democratic Alliance.

Interview timestamps below:

  • 01:56 Herman Mashabe on Paul O’Sullivan’s call not to attack or kick Ramaphosa out
  • 02:52 On the Phala Phala situation and whether the president was set up
  • 03:58 On Arthur Fraser being a crook, a criminal and corrupt
  • 07:05 On his insight into sabotage and political parties’ games
  • 13:22 On the signals and feedback of Action SA
  • 18:38 On the perception that Action SA is too close to the EFF

Excerpts from the interview

Herman Mashabe on Paul O’Sullivan’s call not to attack or kick Ramaphosa out

Please tell Mr Paul O’Sullivan that I’m going to do everything in my power to ensure that we get Cyril Ramaphosa to go and sell his buffaloes because that is what he enjoys best. You cannot have a president who runs their country on a side, and be most of the time hustling. So for whatever reason, what the world thinks about Cyril Ramaphosa, I can tell you, as one of those South Africans determined h to ensure that we get Cyril Ramaphosa removed from office, so we have someone who cares about my children and my grandchildren. 

On the Phala Phala situation and whether the president was set up or not

No, no, no. Please Alec. Set up by who? He set himself up. Tell me, Alec, let’s be honest with ourselves. Set up by who? The man never denied the fact that US dollars were stolen, the violence used against the people who committed this crime, including asking for the Namibian government’s assistance in bribing the criminals who stole these dollars – the dollars which were not declared to the Reserve Bank, never paid tax on. So please, no one must try to divert our attention from criminality. We must never, as South Africa, condone criminality, especially from our head of state. 

On Arthur Fraser being a crook, a criminal and corrupt

On that one, I agree with you. It’s good when criminals expose the one and let them bring more. So let Cyril also tell us who the other criminals are, but we are not going to condone it because Fraser is a criminal. Therefore, you set up another criminal. Let him tell us about other crimes. Look at that today – the country is going through stage 6 loadshedding and it happened at the time when Eskom was looted by the Guptas right in front of the eyes of Ramaphosa. So I think yes, let him tell us who the other criminals are because he surrounded himself with criminals. 

On his insight into sabotage and political parties’ games

We must take this from a proper context. Loadshedding didn’t just start today, it started from the days of Thabio Mbeki. The ANC with their communist, narrow-minded approach to the economy went on a massive expansion of free electricity to everyone, which was a good thing. But one thing that they forgot, like communism: to understand that electricity doesn’t come from God. It’s not something like the sun that comes out every day. You can try and really please, and buy votes to expand the electricity supply to those who never used to get it before. And what they did instead is that while they were expanding the electricity supply they forgot to expand Eskom. They put in the cadres who had absolutely no clue whatsoever on what electricity was all about. Look at the boards of Eskom. They started getting rid of qualified people because of the colour of their skin and putting in cadres – people who have no clue about what’s happening. They were just on the board and running this organisation on the basis of their connections so they could push their project to steal and loot this entity. I think it’s very unfortunate. 

I remember many years ago, I was at Sun City for the Living Golf Challenge. One of the ladies had a husband who was one of the senior members of ANC. He was on the board of Eskom. He had no idea what was happening. On Sunday, he had to leave because Eskom was flying them to Dubai on a first class basis, going to a women’s conference. Nothing to do with Eskom. Just to give an example. Obviously the challenges of Eskom were just beginning to emerge. And so what has happened right now: look at the board of Eskom, great South Africans. But tell me, in terms of their knowledge of what’s happening, look at what our law enforcement agencies are doing with the looting, with the sabotage, because Eskom is being sabotaged by criminal elements that do not want it to function. Tell me, when was the last time you heard anyone ever punished? Where are the Guptas right now? In fact, this morning, that is, I guess at six in the morning, I must remind South Africans about the Guptas. Why is our National Prosecuting Authority taking so long if the Guptas are in jail? I don’t know. Are they still in jail in Dubai or not? Nobody knows because they think we’re going to forget about this. What is the president saying about this? He has gone underground. 

President Ramaphosa thought he was doing good for South Africa. Do you know what message we got this morning? He says he is doing something good for South Africa, giving us an extra holiday. I said, why, goodness, is this the best economic thing? That’s what any normal president can do for South Africa. These are things that unfortunately make some of us very mad. Do we deserve to? If I were to look at the numbers – we must have the most holidays ever in the world. In the meantime, 12 million South Africans are unemployed right now. Your business doesn’t have electricity. But yes, Mr President, the shops, the factories, shopping centres, they’re running on generators. You know how much it’s costing them on a daily basis to run their businesses? Over and above this, you give another holiday. Every time there’s a holiday, the cost to businesses because now you got to pay double pay because people then have to be paid for a holiday. Cyril Ramaphosa, some people really deemed him to be a businessman. Tell me about any normal business person who couldn’t figure something like this out? Ramaphosa never employed people. That’s not the implication of the holiday, the cost of holiday to the business community. This is total madness. And the people expect us to keep quiet about this. 

On the signals and feedback of Action SA 

Action SA is really very pleased. We worked really very hard. We committed to South Africans at the beginning of this year that by the end of the year I’d have all nine provinces with provincial chairpersons. Here it is. I achieved that project in nine months. I had to crisscross the country to really look at credible South Africans who can lead the nine provinces because come 2024, Action SA is going to contest all nine provinces. We had a critical experience last year when we contested only six municipalities out of the 278. I wanted to obviously test the water and get the necessary experience, but this time around, we cannot have ANC past 2024. We can’t. Otherwise it will be the end of South Africa. So we are ready for this…

I will tell you that the team is doing some amazing work and it was not an easy exercise. Right now, I’m confident talking to you to say that Action SA is going to emerge – if not as the biggest party, it is going to be number two. This morning I had a four-five hour, very productive meeting with John Steenhuisen. Because ever since I put them in power last year, we’ve really had more issues than actually focusing on running these municipalities properly so that you can prepare for 2024. I think my meeting with John today was really very positive. I’m encouraged. I went to bed last night worried about the outcome of this meeting. And I think John coming to this meeting was really very positive. I’m excited about this because it’s good news. Once I can get the DA to understand that a prosperous South Africa and the ANC cannot coexist in one place, we can work on getting them out. I’m not saying we want Action SA to take over the DA or DA to take over Action SA. We are two separate companies with different manifestos, but at the end of the day, we have more in common than our differences. Let’s really focus on our similarities and our common objective and let ANC be our priority to take them out so that jointly we can run a multi-party government and save this country. So I’m excited about this, but it’s not going to be an easy one. If I am fortunate enough, it is possible. 

On the perception that Action SA is too close to the EFF

It’s interesting and a good question for you to ask because it’s one of the issues I raised with John about this propaganda by some people in the DA. I believe in social justice, because when I was the mayor of the city of Johannesburg, I was there to serve everyone, while the DA did not want me to serve other communities. And I said, this is not going to happen. As a mayor, I have the responsibility to serve all South Africans. And obviously, now they embarked on this massive campaign to label me as an EFF mayor. And I said, John, please, this is something that you’ve got to stop because as the DA is coming out with this propaganda, I’m sitting with another problem where I have the ANC accusing me of being a DA light. They think I’m a “house Nigga”. I’m not going to be distracted by such attacks. You can call me anything. One thing for sure, I’m committed to a non-racial South Africa and I’m not going to apologise to anyone. No one is going to dictate to me who I must associate with. I’m going to associate with black people. I’m going to associate with our white counterparts, and I’m not going to apologise to anyone. If the DA wants to label me as an EFF mayor because I care about poor people, that’s fine. I’m prepared to live with that label. If the ANC is going to label me a white man in a black skin, that’s nonsense. I’m a proud black God created person. I’m not going to be distracted by that kind of nonsense. So at the end of the day, I can tell you I’m committed to a non-racial South Africa and I’m not going to apologise to anyone. Come 2024, we have to remove the ANC from government. We’re going to remove a lot of the unjust laws, including race based legislation. I don’t want to leave my two grandchildren to live in a country where they are judged on the basis of the colour of their skin. I want my grandchildren to be judged on the basis of their character. I lived more than a half of my life under an evil system of apartheid that deprived me of opportunities. I lived 28 years under the criminal enterprise called ANC whose survival was dependent, also like the National Party, on dividing us along racial lines. So I’m not going to fall into the trap of being distorted because people are prepared to insult me. 

Alec Hogg’s interview notes

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