Mashaba has bold plans if elected Joburg mayor
Herman Mashaba, the DA’s newly announced mayoral candidate for the City of Johannesburg, wants all racially based policies, such as broad-based black economic empowerment (BBBEE), scrapped.
And if he were to hold the reins of power, he would immediately instruct Parliament to remove all laws that classified anyone a black person.
These plans have cast the spotlight on DA policy, which, until the eve of the 2014 general elections, struggled to reconcile a nonracial philosophy with a commitment to BEE.
In a bid to explain its position during the lead-up to the 2014 election, the DA published a document in which it vowed to expand BEE legislation to make it more broad-based and prevent an already enriched elite from benefiting further.
Party leader Mmusi Maimane said yesterday the DA did not believe in scrapping BEE, but the policy “must in many ways benefit the poor and not a select few”.
Mashaba, the founder of hair-product range Black Like Me, was paraded as the DA’s ticket to capture the ANC-run metro in local government elections, to be held sometime between May and August. He said it was an insult that, 21 years into democracy, people were forced to “practise racial stereotypes”.
“I am really intrigued that in South Africa today, I am still regarded as a black person,” he said.
“We are, in fact, all South Africans. As a businessperson, one also has to fill in forms as part of BEE and report to government that I employ so many blacks or coloureds, Indians or whites.
“To me, it is such an insult that on April 27 1994 I voted for the normalisation of our country, but 21 years on, I still have to practise racial stereotypes ... It is of concern and, I believe, as the DA, it is something we need to engage society seriously about. That is why we will have Penny [Sparrow] and others insulting us along racial lines.”
Mashaba conceded that racially based policies redressed past injustices, but he said this could only be done in a functioning economy.
“Whatever you are going to do in this country, inequality is not going to be addressed during South Africa’s current economic performance.”
He complained about some aspects of labour law, which had been responsible for destroying small businesses over the past 15 years.
“Unfortunately, those businesses are black businesses. I do not understand someone talking about the economic successes of our people when, at the same time, we have laws that destroy them.”
Mashaba said growing up under then apartheid president PW Botha’s regime had made it impossible for black people to run businesses, but despite the repression, the hairdressing industry had boomed and had been dominated by women.
The challenge now, he said, was to align oneself with a political party in order to access business opportunities.
“The ANC has created the perception that the only way people can survive is if the government does it for them,” he said.
“Government must create an environment where business can operate – an environment where business does not have to be done along racial lines. People must get equal opportunities – that, for me, is the ideal situation. “At this point in time, BBBEE is being targeted to deal with the elite – those who are politically connected in the ANC. My view is that it must address the inequality and deal with poor South Africans broadly – that is a key issue.
“And we have to ask questions about how we diversify workplaces.”
Maimane said the renewed racial tensions which had played out on social media repeatedly this year were being used by some to start a race war, which would take “some time to settle down”. He vowed to deal with any racism coming from within his party, adding that the discourse about race was a concern for him and should be for all South Africans.
“I saw a billboard of a political party saying the honeymoon for white South Africans is over. I see other people who are practising hate speech.
“What I see cannot be tolerated in South Africa today. On one level, you have white, Afrikaans South Africans saying we must sing Die Stem – we must condemn that. We must equally condemn those who are standing up and saying ‘kill the Boer’.”
DA candidate Herman Mashaba plans a slew of reforms if elected
mayor of Joburg