While other political parties are talking about short-term plans of coalition government, ActionSA is already talking about 2024 general elections.
Its president, Herman Mashaba, says it is not concerned about coalition talks at the moment and will deal with those when they come up. For now, it is looking at beginning to prepare for the 2024 national election.
The former City of Johannesburg mayor says that, when he was born in Hammanskraal in 1958, his grandfather called him “the high man” because he wanted him to change the world. Mashaba understands the nickname to mean that a high man has no equal in anything he does.
Mashaba’s party was the biggest winner when the local government election results were announced by the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) on Thursday evening.
“It’s no longer an academic exercise. I’ve toppled the EFF in Johannesburg with big margins. I’ve made it abundantly clear that the ANC is completely out of the question in this lifetime as a coalition partner. I’ve also made it clear that I can listen to the DA and others, as long as they can commit to social justice to ensure that our people get proper service delivery,” he said.
ActionSA got 9.43% in Gauteng with 78 seats, after 501 043 people voted for it.
In the City of Johannesburg, it toppled the EFF at position three by winning 44 seats at 16.05%.
In the highly contested Tshwane metro, Mashaba gained 19 seats with 8.64%, while in Ekurhuleni, he won 15 seats with 6.6%.
In KwaZulu-Natal, ActionSA got 0.92% with 12 seats.
In an interview with City Press, Mashaba said he was not waiting for other political parties to approach him with a view to entering into a coalition government, but was instead preoccupied with drawing up the future plans of ActionSA. They include appointing six provincial chairpersons in provinces where they are not represented, before the end of March next year.
He said: We’re proud that we mutilated the ANC. In the three metros in Gauteng, we dislodged them and they’ll never recover from that.
“I apologised to people of South Africa for not participating in every municipality across the country.
“We have 220 000 volunteers throughout the country and three provincial chairpersons on a full-time basis,” he said.
He said: My plan is to have six provincial chairpersons by the end of March next year so that they can help formalise structures and start with the preparations for the 2024 election.
Mashaba explained that his party wanted to start campaigning as early as the second quarter of next year. “Our mission is to bring the ANC to below 30%,” he added.
He said that ActionSA’s decision to contend in the local government election in only six metros, rather than nationally, had not been about funding, but had been a strategic decision based on his party’s capacity, with the intention of focusing on credible, ethical leadership.
“Yes, money is a factor, but we needed to put forward people we could trust who’re committed to public service. Unfortunately, such people in this country are few because the ANC patronage network isn’t easy [to deal with],” he said.
He attributed the success of ActionSA to more than 2.4 million South Africans who had signed a petition requesting him to start his political party after resigning from the DA.We engaged policemen and women, judges, principals, teachers and ordinary South Africans. Since this happened in the middle of the pandemic, we used a lot of social media platforms and Zoom meetings, where people gave us contributions to formulate our policy.
Mashaba said his three-year stint as the mayor of Johannesburg had also played a role.
“I inherited a city with a R170 billion infrastructure battle and we managed to save R2 billion of vanity projects and the opening of bakeries by cadres. There were [inadequate] policies to address infrastructure backlog. I started fighting corruption and getting people arrested even though they were protected by the ANC government because they had captured the criminal justice system. People were confident in me from that point of view, but my business experience and profile also helped and is still helping. These things contributed to a large extent,” he said.
Mashaba said that, despite the IEC making things difficult for his party, it had still broken barriers.
He said he had major issues with the DA, which had positioned him as an EFF man because it wanted him to serve narrow political interests.
“I live in Sandton and across the street is Alexandra, where people don’t have toilets. When I wanted to provide toilets for those communities, the DA wanted me to cut grass in Sandton. These things were insulting to me. Other insults were when they asked me on numerous occasions why I should take their residents’ money to provide services to people who didn’t pay taxes and didn’t vote for the DA,” he said.
Mashaba said people voted for ActionSA because they were aware that he had unfinished business in the City of Johannesburg.
“The inner-city rejuvenation plan got the people of Johannesburg excited,” he said.