Herman Mashaba’s ActionSA nationwide onslaught is rapidly taking shape
Herman Mashaba’s ActionSA nationwide onslaught is rapidly taking shape.
This comes as the party unveiled former Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Athol Trollip as its newest recruit in the Eastern Cape on Wednesday.
Trollip is one of a number of former DA leaders, including former Midvaal mayor Bongani Baloyi, who have defected to ActionSA.
The announcement was made in Gqeberha, with former DA Federal chair geared up in ActionSA regalia.
Some political analysts believe Trollip and Baloyi could be what ActionSA need to push the ANC below 50% in both the Eastern Cape and Gauteng.
However, analyst Ralph Mathekga believes the only problem that may lay ahead was “disintegration” within ActionSA.
“There are too many superstars and at some point, someone is going to want to take centre stage and do a solo performance,” Mathekga warned.
Trollip famously left politics in 2019 after resigning from the DA and losing out on the Federal leader position to Helen Zille.
He said he decided to join ActionSA because he wanted to see change.
“I want to see real democratic change happening again in SA in my life. Many of us, people my age, thought we wouldn’t see political change. We did see change as 1994 did bring change. I want to see change coming again. I want to see real political change,” he said.
Mathekga said Mashaba was overwhelmed by the response his party received during the 2021 local government elections.
“I don’t think he anticipated this much support, let alone the defection of DA leaders to ActionSA. He’s had good recruits and these were people were successful in their roles. Bongani was one and [former DA provincial leader John] Moodey.
“Mashaba will certainly take away votes from the ANC. They’re doing it already for the DA. They might have got more if it wasn’t their first time contesting.
“People didn’t think he was voteable. He might depose one of the two, DA or EFF.
“Gauteng is up for grabs. ANC is headed below 50 +1, the DA is struggling to consolidate and EFF is hanging in there. Once the ANC backbone is broken, Mashaba can take it,” Mathekga said.
Insiders in the DA in the Eastern Cape were spooked and worried about Trollip taking a chunk of their supporters.
In 2016, when Trollip was the DA’s mayoral candidate, the party secured 57 seats in the Bay but this dropped to 48 seats in the November polls.
One insider said: “There is an overwhelming sense of disappointment because he said he’d retired. If you’re going to retire, then retire. We suspect he’s going to try and recruit from the DA because he can’t exactly fish from the ANC pond.”
Another insider said: “A lot of people are enticed or might be enticed by joining Athol. It’s clear Athol’s issues and Helen’s issues are huge.”
A third DA insider said: “He’s definitely coming after our members and I think the disgruntled ones who didn’t make it to council will definitely join him.”
Political analyst Ongama Mtimka said he did not think Trollip’s brand was bigger than the DA’s but concluded the political was a stronger contender and popular.
“Athol is synonymous with the DA and represents a significant support base. This is a good recruitment for ActionSA,” Mtimka said.
Professor Mcebisi Ndletyana said ActionSA needed someone like Trollip because Mashaba was an “unfamiliar” face in the province.
“You’ll find a lot of people like him whether it be disgruntled black DA supporters or liberal white voters who are unhappy with the conservative stance DA is taking.
“The ANC is up for the taking because it’s scandal after scandal in the EC. The ANC is lucky that it hasn’t had a formidable opposition. They’ve been cushioned but electoral support has declined,” he said.
Ndletyana added it would be interesting to see which DA heavyweights would join Trollip such as current DA Eastern Cape leader Nqaba Bhanga. Bhanga’s term ends in 2023.
“Nqaba will most certainly give Athol and audience but politics is also about livelihoods. If they think their future in the next five years looks good, then he’ll likely stay instead of defecting to something you’re not certain about,” he said.
Commenting on Trollip’s return to politics, Bhanga said it was sad the he chose ActionSA. He added they anticipated a small number of their supporters to join him.