Time to quit ‘enduring’ the status quo


Trollip says 30 million disillusioned, abstaining eligible or registered voters must ‘come to party’

LEADERSHIP: Eastern Cape ActionSA leader Athol Trollip spoke about his own political journey when he introduced the ActionSA political party to Port Alfred at the Marina Clubhouse this week. Picture: TK MTIKI

Eastern Cape ActionSA Provincial leader Athol Trollip introduced the party to Ndlambe residents during a public meeting at the Marina Clubhouse on Monday 30 January 2023. The veteran leader kicked off his speech informing those present of his political credentials, starting with his term as a Democratic Alliance (DA) leader.

Trollip said he and his team in Nelson Mandela Bay had succeeded in garnering the biggest DA majority outside the Western Cape, where that party enjoys a majority. Under his leadership, the DA had gone from 41% to 47% while support for the ANC had declined from 51% to 41%.

That growth was short-lived, though.

“What troubled me a lot in the last election is that my former party (DA) went from 47% to 38%,” Trollip said. “I have learnt in politics that you cannot arrest political decline: look at the ANC… Cope… the United Democratic Movement… every political party. Once you start going backwards it’s impossible to arrest that,” he said.

Trollip explained why he left the DA.

“I regard myself as a conviction politician, not a career politician. I am not dependent on politics and I lost my conviction: it’s as simple as that,” he said.

Fuelling his decision, he said, was contesting against Hellen Zille for the position of DA Federal Council Chairperson. Zille herself had famously said there was a time to stay and a time to go ad Trollip emphasised that it had not been a case of sour grapes due to losing to Zille.

Trollip said 20 million South Africans were registered to vote in the last election but decided not to vote. Mobilising those wandering in the political wilderness would be a boost for the ActionSA. 

“Those million people are up for grabs. They are disillusioned and disappointed in the current government [as well as] all the political parties,” he said.

Trollip noted that 10 million South Africans eligible to vote had not even registered to vote. He said that was a bad idea.

“How can you not be interested in politics? Because politics is interested in you,” Trollip said. “It has a direct impact on your daily life. It is about electricity provision, food prices, fuel prices, the kind of roads you travel on, safety and security, education, health care, how much tax you pay and the kind of service delivery you have. 

“Those are the things that go hand in hand with politics. Bad government can destroy your business overnight,” he said.

In an interview he recently had on Mpuma Kapa TV Station in Gqeberha, in isiXhosa, he encouraged residents to demand more from their relevant authorities.  

“South Africans have too much endurance, especially black South Africans,” Trollip said, recapping that interview. “They have got a propensity to endure and suffer in silence. 

“Do not get me wrong: I respect the fact that black people have got that quality, because if they did not have it this country would have been in … but there is no sin in wanting more,” he said.

“People should want better education, better safety and better health services.”

Of his decision to join the ActionSA party, he said Herman Mashaba was honest, strategic and unambiguously clear about his values for the country.

“I would rather die trying than wondering what would have happened,” Trollip said. “I said to myself here is a guy who should be retired, who made a lot of money during apartheid when it was impossible for black people to get ahead. He is investing his time and his money to fix South Africa.

“I live in a province that is broken: 50% unemployment, 70% youth unemployment and the worst performing province on every single [criterion] you can imagine,” he said.

Trollip said ActionSA is the only party in South Africa able to attract voters from suburban, township and deep rural areas. 

ActionSA’s foundations are grounded in The People’s Dialogue, a nine-month public engagement process which solicited the views of 2.4 million South Africans about the future of their country.

In the 2021 local government elections ActionSA contested three metros in Gauteng, namely, Johannesburg, Tshwane and Ekurhuleni, as well as EThekwini Municipality. 


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