Former Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba, who launched his political party on Saturday, has credited the ANC’s dismal running of the country as the straw that broke the camel’s back.
He said how the governing party has particularly handled the Covid-19 pandemic opened the door for his party to win over masses of disheartened citizens.
During a virtual pre-launch media briefing on Thursday, Mashaba’s director of operations, Funzi Ngobeni – who also broke rank from the DA and joined Mashaba – said their new party has been seen as a new viable alternative.
The yet to be formally launched organisation has already managed to garner 60 000 signatures of volunteers.
“The sense of momentum shifting towards our new party over the past two months has been quite unbelievable. South Africans are furious about the abuse of this national state of disaster for the looting of public funds,” said Mashaba.
He added that what made the current corruption allegations even more appalling was that they were happening “at a time when our economy is reeling from the hardest lockdown in the world”.
“South Africans are losing their jobs, their businesses while our government behaves like a criminal syndicate,” said Mashaba.
He said while the timing of the ANC’s latest corruption scandal was off-putting for South Africans, the launch of his party “could not have happened at a better time”.
“South Africans, now more than ever before, want a real alternative to the ANC. They want a party that can achieve broad support, beyond the narrow focus of our current opposition parties. They want a way out of the mess we found ourselves in,” said Mashaba.
He said the party he will unveil on Saturday “will be the hope that South Africans are looking for”.
“We will put down real solutions to the problems in South Africa. We will avoid the political pettiness and point-scoring that has become part of the politics of our country. We will exist for the soul reason of unseating the ANC and providing an alternative, better future for our country,” he said.
What sets Mashaba’s party apart?
According to Mashaba, his party was funded mainly from his own pocket so its policies would not be influenced by external forces.
He also assured South Africans that the party’s constitution does not allow members to do business with the state to avoid what has happened under the ANC’s leadership.
Mashaba said all it’s leaders would be nominated by the party’s structures.
Leadership of the party
The former mayor also announced the leadership of the party to be launched on Saturday.
“I will serve as the party president and have appointed Michael Beaumont [who served as the People’s Dialogue chief executive] to serve as the national chairperson of the new party. Lerato Ngobeni, a former programme manager at the Thabo Mbeki African Leadership Institute, will serve as the national spokesperson.”
Funzi Ngobeni, André Coetzee and Paul Boughey will form part of the leadership team. They have been with the organisation from its formative days. Other members are Makhosi Khoza, Vytjie Mentor, Lieutenant-General Deliwe de Lange, David Tembe and Vivien Law.