Former Johannesburg mayor and DA member Herman Mashaba has announced the launch of a new platform “to engage South Africans from all walks of life about how we can build a South Africa that we can all be proud of”.
In a statement on Friday, Mashaba said he made this decision to launch The People’s Dialogue after he resigned from the DA and gave up his seat as mayor.
“Like many South Africans, I have lost faith in our political system. Nothing could demonstrate this more than the events that have taken place over the past 48 hours across major metros in South Africa,” Mashaba said.
This week, the ANC’s Geoff Makhubo was elected as Mashaba’s replacement. Makhubo is a divisive figure. Although popular among ANC branches, there are serious questions about an estimated R30 million that his company received from Regiments Capital, a firm deeply implicated in state capture.
And in Tshwane, the DA’s Stevens Mokgalapa was removed as mayor through a successful motion of no confidence during a special council sitting on Thursday night. The DA was dealt another blow after Tshwane speaker Katlego Mathebe was also removed from council through a motion of no confidence.
“Through all of this, I have come to the view that political parties and politicians operate with self-interest as their primary driver of decision making, and not in the interest of ordinary South Africans,” Mashaba said.
“Despite this, in my time as the mayor of Johannesburg, I have been fortunate to meet thousands of South Africans from all backgrounds. They have confirmed my deep-seated belief that our country is loaded with potential. We are a proud people and desire to live in a country that works, but we are held back from that possibility by our political system.”
According to Mashaba, while South Africa faces many challenges as a nation, he believes that “we are capable of finding innovative solutions to these, driven by the countless talented individuals who share my desire to save our country”.
He said he launched The People’s Dialogue because ordinary South Africans needed to engage in a conversation about the future of the country.
“Going forward, I will begin to engage on my Twitter and Facebook pages, and on a micro-website.
“While we will start slowly over the month of December, it will pick up speed in January 2020 when we begin to engage on the solutions to our biggest challenges. Solutions put forward by ordinary South Africans.”
Mashaba said he had only one rule in leading this discussion: “As South Africans, we must engage one another with respect for our great diversity of views and solutions.
“I am calling on all South Africans to engage in this discussion about the future of our country. The People’s Dialogue must return the belief and hope for a better future, one shaped by its people.
“We can no longer leave our future, as a people, to our political system. We have to be animated by a love of our country and by a belief that we can fix South Africa,” Mashaba said.