Former Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba launched his new party, ACTIONSA, during a virtual event on Saturday.
Mashaba quit both the DA and his job as Johannesburg mayor late last year in a shocking move after the re-election of Helen Zille as chairperson of the DA’s federal council. Shortly after that, he launched The Peoples Dialogue, an NGO aimed at getting views of South Africans about the future.
Earlier this year, he decided to form a political party.
Mashaba aims to contest next year’s local government elections, his main focus being on the three Gauteng metros of Tshwane, Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni.
Addressing the launch of his party on Saturday, Mashaba said he came to see how SA had fallen into the hands of evil people, who inflicted pain and suffering on the people through their greed and failure.
“26 years into our democracy, South Africans are suffering. We suffer from the highest levels of inequality. We suffer from an economy that does not grow, leaving 10 million people unemployed and families destroyed by the stress of hunger.
“We suffer from levels of crime that leave law-abiding citizens living in fear while criminals roam our streets with impunity,” said Mashaba.
Mashaba said the majority of South Africans were not radicals who hate and sow divisions.
“We are not the criminals, the extremists, the corrupt or the racists. We are the good, hard-working, law-abiding, family-orientated and freedom-loving people of this country,” he said.
Mashaba, who has been heavily criticised for alleged xenophobic statements during his time as mayor of Johannesburg, said his party was not xenophobic but opposed illegal immigration.
“This party stands for an end to illegal immigration, and we will never be silenced by anyone. We are a country and, as such, we have borders. We are a country that has not met the expectations of its own citizens and, therefore, cannot try to meet the expectations of the citizens of other nations as well,” said Mashaba.
He said SA had a right and legal obligation to its citizens to determine who may enter the country and for what reason.
“These are our laws, and the laws of most self-respecting nations. I stand against xenophobia and there is no place for this or any hatred in this party or in our country. So, let me be clear, we want the people of the world to come to SA to work, vacation and invest.
“But, when people enter SA they must meet two very reasonable requirements. First, enter our country legally and, second, when here obey our laws. If we make this negotiable, we are not a country,” said Mashaba
Mashaba said his party believed that South Africans must vote directly for the president, MPs, premiers and mayors.
“They should do so in a constituency-based system that forces political parties to put forward credible candidates and not the party-political hacks that sit in our parliament representing their ambitions and not ours.
“If, as a country we did this, we would hold elected representatives accountable and what candidates offer would be more important than which party they come from,” said Mashaba.
He said his party will not only fight to bring about legislation to make this a reality but would put words into action.
“Our candidates who contest elections will not be chosen in back rooms of our party. They will be chosen by you, the people of SA through a system of direct democracy in the form of primaries.
“South Africans will be asked to register through an online system. By doing so they will be able to vote in our primaries before election day,” said Mashaba.