BRIEF: Herman for mayor…again

Herman Mashaba’s political party ActionSA has finally been registered – months after it hit a legal battle over its name and logo being too similar to the otherwise obscure, Party of Action.

Mashaba, famous for his rags to riches story as millionaire founder of the Black Like Me hair product range, made a splash when he entered politics under the opposition DA. He became City of Joburg mayor in 2016, following the enormous electoral upset that saw the ANC lose control in several key metros that year.

Mashaba was a popular mayor, albeit controversial at times, especially given his concerning views on migrants. But his high profile leadership of the city came to an abrupt end in October 2019.

Mashaba, like several other leaders, left the party and his mayorship in October 2019 as a more reactionary Helen Zille made a return to party leadership, and the DA became increasingly conservative, especially in terms of race. 

His new party is centre-right, promoting free-market principles and non-racialism, and appears to be growing in popularity, especially in Gauteng. Mashaba claims the party has 160 000 volunteers all over the country.

According to City Press, ActionSA has been poaching DA leaders – especially in the Joburg region – which makes for a spicy situation.

Local elections will take place next year, and the City of Joburg is going to be a very interesting one to watch. It has since reverted to ANC rule and the current mayor, Geoff Makhubo, is mired in corruption allegations.

Joburg voters have been most willing to punish the ANC at the polls over corruption. Mashaba has shown himself to be adept at holding down difficult coalitions – previously with the EFF – and just may be able to pull it off again.

This brief was originally published in The Wrap here.

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