Herman Mashaba. Picture: FREDDY MAVUNDA
Herman Mashaba. Picture: FREDDY MAVUNDA

Herman Mashaba’s soon-to-be-launched political party will contest for power in Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni and Tshwane in the 2021 municipal elections.

Mashaba, who rose to political prominence as the DA’s first mayor in Johannesburg, said on Wednesday his political party, which at this stage is mostly funded by the Mashaba family, would be launched in August 2020.

The entrepreneur started a consultation process in 2019 under the banner of The People’s Dialogue, a non-profit organisation set up to drive the process towards the formation of his party, after he resigned dramatically as mayor of Johannesburg and from the DA.  

Explaining why he was not going to contest in all municipalities, Mashaba said: “This is the mistake that many new political parties make. They have contested all 278 municipalities as new parties with only months to prepare for elections, with the unambitious outcome of gaining a councillor here and there.

“Our political party will identify municipalities that are strategic in nature and where we will win,” he said.

Mashaba said they would then take their service-delivery achievement to voters and contest in all nine provinces and for the presidency in 2024. His aim for the yet-unnamed party is to focus on those who did not vote in the 2019 general elections, to ensure they made it to the polls. But he also hoped to woo voters from other parties.  

Mashaba said the consultation process, which resulted in a research report released on Wednesday, found that South Africans were most concerned about corruption, the economy, jobs and crime. He said he would hold meetings with, among others, former police officers, former prosecutors, retired judges, captains of industry, business owners, economists, doctors, nurses and teachers, to put together a blueprint to fix the various systems in SA.

“We will not get lost in the highbrow political black holes of ideology and policy like many political parties; we are going to focus on presenting solutions to SA’s problems,” he said. “By the time South Africans go to vote in 2021, they will know what we will do in government to address their greatest challenges.”

Mashaba said the new party would aim to adopt a free-market economy, with nonracialism, social justice and adherence to the rule of law (which includes harsh punishment for offenders and illegal immigration) as its key values. It will also aim to hold community primaries to give people direct access to who they want to represent them, instead of the party deciding on candidates.

Forming a new political party while the country is in lockdown has been challenging, but Mashaba said they had to think out of the box, such as holding virtual town-hall meetings, which had actually given them a wider reach than a physical meeting.

Asked how potential funding for the new party has been affected, given the economic devastation that has resulted from the lockdown imposed to curb the Covid-19 pandemic, Mashaba said: “Without any doubt, it is difficult for everyone. Is it going to be easy for us? Absolutely not. We expect that it’s going to be very difficult, but we are confident that the people of this country will come forward to assist us.”

He said the amount of funding the party receives will determine how many municipalities it would eventually contest.

mailovichc@businesslive.co.za

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