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ActionSA's Herman Mashaba. Picture: SANDILE NDLOVU
ActionSA's Herman Mashaba. Picture: SANDILE NDLOVU

South Africans are worse off today than they were six years ago, ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba said in his alternative state of the nation address (Sona) on Wednesday.

Mashaba said the legacy of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s time in office was a rundown economy with rampant unemployment, crime, load-shedding and decaying infrastructure.

“By almost every measure, South Africans are worse off today than they were six years ago. We cannot continue to vote for the same selfish leaders, election after election, and expect our country to improve. One cannot hope to do the same thing over and over again and expect a different outcome,” he said.

He accused Ramaphosa of consistently making grand promises while delivering little.

“To bring about positive change, we must be bold. We must be courageous. We must try something new. We must take action. We must look to a solutions-based alternative to challenge the failed political establishment.”

Mashaba said his party wanted to fix the country by working with South Africans who want to make SA work.

The party held its first national policy conference in September last year, bringing together more than 600 delegates to consolidate policy proposals as solutions to address the country’s problems.

The party’s priority is economic prosperity, which comprises creating a conducive environment for economic growth and job creation through interventions that will stabilise the energy market, develop world-class economic infrastructure and improve the ease of doing business.

“We will reform labour regulations to break the stranglehold of unions and make it easier to do business, to create millions of jobs and lift our people out of poverty. We will support SMMEs and ensure we remove the barriers to growth that prevent small businesses from succeeding.”

The party said it is unapologetically in favour of black economic empowerment and the previously marginalised, but it rejects the B-BBEE Act of 2003 which has created tenderpreneurs for the politically connected while leaving others in poverty.

“An ActionSA government will replace B-BBEE with a policy of inclusive economic empowerment that will empower all previously disadvantaged South Africans, as well as those harmed by 30 years of corrupt and incompetent government.

“Inclusive economic empowerment, or IEE, is the first real alternative to BBBEE. It will directly address the legacy of apartheid by creating economic opportunity for all previously disadvantaged South Africans, not only the connected few.”

On education, Mashaba said the government’s neglect is a grave injustice, robbing generations of the opportunity for a brighter future.

“We will begin with the establishment of universal access to early childhood development (ECD) to ensure all South African children receive a foundation of quality education. ECD centres play a pivotal role in shaping future educational outcomes later in life.”

The party said it will break the stranglehold unions exert over schools by implementing reforms to ensure the most qualified teachers are appointed to key positions.

ActionSA believes it has what it takes to end load-shedding. After enduring nearly 17 years of rolling blackouts, Mashaba said little had been done by the ruling party to end the curse.

“ActionSA will change this by ending Eskom’s monopoly and introducing competition into the electricity market. This will help drive down prices while increasing efficiency.

“We will also incentivise private homes and businesses to install solar power, and will protect schools, police stations and hospitals from load-shedding to ensure front line services can continue uninterrupted.”

The ActionSA leader vowed to clamp down on crime and corruption, saying no country can flourish and no economy can grow in a state of anarchy, chaos and lawlessness.

“ActionSA’s approach to law and order aims to reinstate the rule of law by prioritising visible policing over VIP protection for politicians. This involves a comprehensive overhaul of the police service, instilling a sense of pride in the force, and rebuilding trust so criminals no longer operate with impunity.

“We will review bail, parole and sentencing guidelines for severe offences such as rape, murder and drug trafficking.”

Mashaba said another priority will be securing the country’s borders.

“South Africa was built on the back of migrants. ActionSA wants the people of the world to come to South Africa, but they must do so legally and obey our laws once here. We will secure our borders while reforming our immigration system to make it easier for those who can contribute to our economy to enter legally.

“We will clamp down on corruption and issuing of fraudulent documentation in the department of home affairs.”

He also promised to expedite the deportation of undocumented criminals.

Mashaba said his solutions will place the country on the path towards an inclusive and prosperous future.

“They represent a major shift in the status quo that will empower millions of people to leave behind poverty and achieve their true potential. If implemented, these solutions will lead to safer communities, improved economic infrastructure and a prosperous country where everyone has equal access to opportunity.”

ActionSA contested elections for the first time at local government level in 2021, receiving more than 550,000 votes. It is represented in six out of 278 municipalities across the country.

This year will be the first time the party contests elections at national and provincial levels. 


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