Herman Mashaba - South Africa's Donald Trump?
Herman Mashaba founded the cosmetics group Black Like Me in the teeth of apartheid oppression and has built several successful businesses since then, including Leswikeng Minerals and Energy. Last year he announced he was joining the Democratic Alliance and has put his name forward as a mayoral candidate for Johannesburg. He wants to see an end to all race-based legislation, the repeal of Section 32 of the Labour Relations Act that extends collective bargaining agreements to companies that are not party to these agreements, and focus instead on building the small business sector. What would Joburg look like under Mayor Mashaba?
When asked by Finweek how he would fix SA, Herman Mashaba gave the following answers.
1. Can you identify the top three policy issues in your mind that are depressing SA's growth rate?
1. Section 32 of the Labour Relations Act (which allows the Minister of Labour to extend collective agreements concluded by Bargaining Councils in a sector to businesses that are not party to the agreement, and which many believe violates freedom of association rights enshrined in the Constitution). 2. All race-based legislation 3. There is too much government involvement in the economy. We should substantially reduce state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and their influence on the economy.
2. South Africa has slid six places in the World Bank’s latest Ease of Doing Business report to 61st place out of 189 countries. Do you agree that SA is slipping, and if so, how would you fix it?
I fully agree that our country is gradually slipping. Our current rating tells it all. We need less government involvement in driving economic growth. Small business development should be the country's priority in unleashing economic activity.
3. Many of the problems facing the country are structural in nature (degraded infrastructure, power shortages etc) and therefore a long-term fix. What can we do in the short term to boost growth?
Removing race-based legislation will immediately allow all SA to play a meaningful in the economy, proving employment to the millions of our people. We also need to relax some aspects of the Labour Relations Act which makes it difficult for small businesses to operate
4. For all the negatives regarding SA, what are the positives? Can we strengthen and improve on these?
SA has a developed and modern infrastructure that can easily be exploited to improve and steer our economy to the next level, not also ignoring our level of business standing.
5. What would your strategy be to address the need for transformation and empowerment, whilst ensuring an attractive business environment for investors?
When all in SA are treated equally, our economic growth should be performing at least at 5% per annum, allowing government to collect more taxes that can be invested in education. Proper investment is education should be our priority in sustainable transformation. When our economy grows at least at 5%, we are not going to have enough white people to fill all senior positions. Sustainable transformation and empowerment will automatically happen when we focus our energies on growth of the economy.
This is the text of a talk he gave recently at the launch of his mayoral campaign.
Today we take the future of Joburg into our hands.
We are in Alexandra today, a place which represents the potential of Johannesburg, to show our determination to bring change to Johannesburg.
Let’s build a fair Johannesburg that we can all be proud to call home. Let’s create jobs for the millions of unemployed.
Let’s empower the many young black people who don’t experience the dignity of work.
Johannesburg is a great city. It is a melting pot of cultures. It’s the heartbeat of our nation. But Johannesburg can be even greater.
There was a time after 1994 when Johannesburg made progress towards redress.
There was improved housing delivery and essential services. There was development. There was economic growth.
Freedom meant that our city became one Jozi, a city that everyone called home.
But today that progress has stalled. Service delivery is no longer meeting people’s needs. Unemployment is unacceptably high.
Those close to government are getting rich, while everyone else is getting poorer.
We have stopped moving forward.
The current of corruption and bad governance is pulling us backwards.
That’s why I am standing as the DA’s change candidate. To make Johannesburg stand tall again.
I’ve entered the race of my life because I love this City and because I’ve seen how opportunity changes lives. It is deeply personal.
I know that opportunity is the difference between hope and fear, life and death.
My story, like many of your stories, challenges those who seek to use race to divide us.
Like millions of black South Africans, I grew up in poverty during apartheid. I grew up in GaRamotse in Hammanskraal and I was raised by my sisters while our mother worked long hours as a domestic worker.
Mmusi Maimane and I went back there last Monday, and I saw how too little has changed.
The difficulty of life back then, in so many ways still exists today in places like Soweto, Alex, Orange Farm, Kaya Sand, and Zandspruit.
This is not yet a fair society.
And this is why I work for change in Johannesburg.
In my twenties, I set up a company called Black Like Me with a white partner. A man I could proudly call a friend.
I have always believed that black and white South Africans journeys are bound together.
We share unbreakable bonds of humanity and goodness. We share one destiny. We stand or fall together.
The dream of a non-racial South Africa gives life. Despite the storms that threaten to overwhelm us, the dream lives on. The dream will never die.
This dream motivates me every day.
I’ve not found hatred or bitterness on the campaign. I’ve found courage, warmth, and kindness in the midst of unspeakable difficulties.
I’ve been changed by what I’ve experienced.
I’ve seen poor and old grandmothers dig their own toilet pits.
I’ve been stung by the despair of young black men in townships without jobs or an education.
I’ve felt the hopelessness of young people, most of whom are black, trapped in long-term unemployment.
I’ve winced as young mothers queue to pump water for their families into buckets.
I’ve felt the frustration of small business entrepreneurs, many of whom are black, who have no support to prosper.
This stirs us to action.
This new DA city government will redress past injustices. Redress means to “make right” with our brothers and sisters, with a dynamic economy.
Ending the divide between “insiders” and “outsiders” will turn South Africa around.
Our vision is to create hundreds of thousands of jobs in the City of Gold over the next five years. We will attract investment by being an open, transparent, clean, well-governed city that is open to business.
For if Johannesburg works, South Africa works.
We’ll get Johannesburg working by helping small businesses. We’ll cut the red tape that strangles entrepreneurs. We’ll cut up the old by-laws that obstruct business growth, in our first days in office. After 100 days they’ll be removed or amended.
We’ll audit City-owned land and buildings to set free the people’s assets. We’ll identify affordable commercial spaces for small businesses, artisans, and shops, and we’ll make them available at the most affordable annual rental possible.
We’ll connect people to training opportunities and internships. We’ll help them to find jobs in these new businesses.
I know how business works, with a 30-year track record of creating thousands of jobs. Job creation is in my public service DNA.
The DA will connect aspirant entrepreneurs to start-up loans.
We’ll carve up large tenders into small contracts. Many more small businesses can then bid for them successfully. And we’ll open up the tender system entirely, so everyone can see how they are awarded.
We’ll cut out all of the unnecessary consultants, to save millions for service delivery.
We’ll partner large, sector-focused companies with smaller businesses that want to grow. These will be business growth mentoring programmes through the City.
We cannot stop thinking about the future. The “Internet of Everything” will determine the future of successful cities.
We’ll develop a customised network by 2021 and we’ll centralise City data to improve service delivery, from repairing potholes to saving energy.
City and state trade missions to South Africa will bring investment to a new Jozi that is open, accessible, and transparent.
We will lead a revolution in the service levels of public servants and unveil a ‘Service with Pride’ vision on day one.
Courtesy and swiftly answered telephones will become the new norm. We’ll award exceptional performance for raising the City’s profile.
We’ll introduce an Executive Projects Dashboard for real-time monitoring of every project around the city. No project will just stop half-way and go unfinished.
The poorest residents of Joburg suffer the most from corruption. Corruption steals our public money, and it kills jobs.
When we take office, we will make corruption public enemy number one.
Criminals will be handed over to the police.
The DA will strengthen and bolster the Integrity and Internal Investigations Unit in the JMPD. Through the Mayor and open committee meetings, the unit will be directly accountable to the people. Criminal charges against corrupt officers will be pursued.
We also know that crime and drugs are wrecking people’s lives.
The DA-led City will strengthen the muscle of the JMPD.
Safety and security data will be centralised. This will improve local policing and identify drug lords and gangs.
The best technology will be used. Patterns will be spotted before crime is committed.
The police will be protected with body and vehicle dashboard cameras, and a fleet of ghost cars.
Our JMPD will be protectors of each and every one of us.
For if Johannesburg works, South Africa works.
The DA will introduce “schools to skills” programmes for teenagers to navigate one of life’s toughest journeys, which will prepare young people for the modern workplace through skills training right out of school.
The DA will work with the private sector to drive two new special projects. We’ll establish early learning day care centres in every township, where our children will receive love, nutritious meals, and a basic pre-school education.
We’ll identify city-owned properties for entrepreneurs who will transform them into top performing schools and technical colleges for our poorest residents.
We know that a home is more than just where we raise family, it is our economic security. We cannot get Johannesburg working until we fix the housing crisis.
We’ll do four major things to turnaround Johannesburg’s housing crisis:
We’ll fast-track ownership by giving thousands of people title deeds. The poor will come first.
We’ll do everything possible to stop housing list corruption. The process will be transparent and open. The list will be available for anyone to see.
We’ll incentivise entrepreneurs who build green-friendly homes.
We’ll provide basic services to informal settlements, with the best free allocations in South Africa, to the poorest residents.
The DA does this in other cities where we govern, and now we want to do this in Johannesburg.
Affordable and safe public transport goes hand in hand with housing. The poorest of our residents will have easy access to quality public transport.
No more will Soweto residents pay up to half of their money each month just to get transport into the City.
We will integrate the divergent bus services, and we will bring about a single ticket system so that our residents can travel seamlessly. And we’ll promote rapid transit, adaptive parking, bike-sharing, and walking paths.
We’ll work with the private sector to build sporting facilities. I want to see new soccer turfs in every community where young soccer talent is currently lost on dusty sand pitches.
We’ll have properly resourced and staffed clinics. We’ll employ caring nurses, and we’ll fill vacancies so that people don’t spend hours and days queuing for medical help.
For if Johannesburg works, South Africa works.
The time has come to put the government to work.
These are not pipe-dreams, but tried and tested promises, from where the DA governs already.
The best story to tell in South Africa, is how life gets better and better under the DA.
It’s the story of how unemployment is lowest, where the DA governs.
It’s the story of how services are delivered at the highest levels in South Africa, where the DA governs.
It’s the story of how we spend every cent of public money for the good of the people, where the DA governs.
The time has come to elect a DA government that brings this change to Johannesburg.
The time has come to elect a DA government that works for the people.
These are not empty words.
We stand on the shoulders of DA councillors who have already changed South Africa.
And let me say this: If I do not deliver on these promises after being elected, vote us out. It is that simple.
There is nothing broken in Johannesburg that cannot be fixed by Johannesburg. Johannesburg has all the right ingredients to be a great City.
The potential to greatness is in the residents of the City.
The current government talks big but acts small. But there is no glory in acting small.
Greatness does not happen by chance. It takes hard work, guts, and determination.
The DA government will create jobs and deliver quality services to every resident.
We will deliver a Fair Johannesburg, where Freedom is tangible, and where Opportunity abounds.
So far, this campaign journey has taken me from door to door, street to street, township to township.
The journey has taken me to meet people of character, of goodness, of decency.
The journey has brought me to this point. I am now asking every resident of Johannesburg to come on board and join me on this great journey: A journey to a prosperous and fair Johannesburg.
Your votes will elect a DA government that creates jobs and provides services.
That destiny rests in all of our hands.
For this is true: If Johannesburg works, South Africa works.