If Johannesburg works, South Africa works

Note to editors: The following speech was made by DA Mayoral Candidate for Johannesburg, Herman Mashaba, at the DA’s Johannesburg “We Can Win” Final Rally held at the Johannesburg City Hall. Mashaba was joined by DA Leader, Mmusi Maimane MP, DA Gauteng Provincial Leader, John Moodey MPL, DA Chief Whip in the Gauteng Legislature, Mike Moriarty MPL, and DA Johannesburg Regional Chairperson, Khume Ramulifho MPL.

In a week’s time, on the 3rd of August, the people of this City have one of the most important decisions to make since 1994.

The people of this City have the power to determine their own futures.

The people of Jozi have the opportunity to vote for change.

Change that will stop corruption, create jobs and deliver better services.

I have visited every corner of our City over the past seven months, and I have heard from the people of Joburg that they are hungry for change.

Initially the ANC made progress, but it has stalled. We need change to move Johannesburg forward again.

Because if Johannesburg works, South Africa works.

I know that you are sick and tired of broken promises and lies.

I know that the ANC has humiliated, and ignored far too many of you for far too long.

I want to tell you today, that it is you who have kept me going over the past seven months.

People who despite having been given up on by the ANC government, refuse to give up on themselves.

I am asking you to trust me to lead this City on the 3rd of August.

Give me the chance – give the DA the chance – to move this City forward.

In 1994 I was determined that people would know the difference their votes could make in their lives and so I funded a national voter education campaign through my business, Black Like Me.

Today, 22 years later, I am more determined than ever to ensure that people understand that their vote can and will change their lives.

What are you voting for on the 3rd of August?

Are you voting because you want to support a liberation party that has lost its moral compass and through corruption, steals from the very people they liberated?


Are you voting because you want a brighter future? A future where job creation is the number one priority of the government. A future where better quality services are provided to all the people of this city. A future without corruption.

This election is an opportunity for the voters of Johannesburg to take back control of their lives.

To take back the votes you have given to a government whose leader has laughed at you. A government who has placed its own interests ahead of the people it is meant to serve.

I don’t know about you, but I am not laughing.

Instead, I shake my head in despair at the unnecessary human suffering I encounter every single day in Johannesburg.

However, disappointment is not going to achieve anything positive.

Positive actions achieve positive results.

I started my business career at the age of 22, culminating with the birth of Black Like Me in 1985.

In the dark days of Apartheid, the government did everything to prevent a black person from succeeding.

I did not let any of that stop me. I established my business in Garankuwa with a loan from a black businessman and took on a white chemist as a partner.

Because the one certainty that I have always had is that I will never allow anyone – and most certainly not the government – to decide how my life is going to turn out.

I have always believed that true freedom is the opportunity for each person to be whatever he or she wants to be. It was this belief that drove me to succeed in business, and it is this belief that now drives me as I run for public office.

I am running for Mayor of Johannesburg, because I want to help rebuild this City.

Because if Johannesburg works, South Africa works.

I am running for mayor because I feel that it is time to give back to the people of Johannesburg by serving them.

I have a positive vision and plan for this City.

I am going to use all my business acumen, networks, and skills to ensure that you get the city you deserve.

I know that dignity has demands – jobs, houses, quality services, healthcare and an efficient JMPD that serves and protects the people of this city.

I recognise that, and I have undertaken to ensure that these needs are prioritised.

I believe that a home with access to basic services for everyone is non-negotiable.

As Mayor I will ensure that thousands of title deeds are given to people in my first year in office so that they have the dignity of a proper home which can be passed on to their children.

As mayor, I will also end the deep-rooted corruption in the housing lists, and make the process of selecting beneficiaries transparent, open and fair. The housing list will be available for anyone to see.

A DA government will prioritse the upgrading of informal settlements.

In Kwa Mai-Mai I have met men and women who share a single toilet and a single water pump among thousands of residents. I will not rest until we provide dignified sanitation, upgraded sewerage infrastructure, and reliable water and electricity to all settlements.

I have heard anguish in the voices of men and women who go from Kya Sands to Wynberg looking for jobs day in and day out.

869 000 men and women are unemployed in our City.

Every single day, at least 750 people in Johannesburg are added to the list of the unemployed.

Johannesburg needs a bright new vision to deal effectively with the unemployment crisis.

If Johannesburg works, South Africa works.

For too long the current Mayor, Parks Tau has ignored the unemployment crisis.

His flagship jobs programmes, Jozi@work and Vulindlel’eJozi have done nothing to slow down the jobs bloodbath.

You see, the problem is that Tau and his ANC cronies believe that government can create jobs on their own.

A government’s actual role in job-creation, is to create an enabling environment for businesses to establish themselves, flourish, and thereby create permanent jobs.

I am here to tell those of you who are unemployed, please do not give up hope.

Because on the 4th of August, if elected Mayor, job creation will be my number one priority.

I am going to put the ‘JOB’ back into Joburg.

Because if Johannesburg works, South Africa works.

How am I going to do this?

One of my top priorities is to professionalise the public service by hiring the very best people to run a city that attracts investment and creates jobs.

Small businesses create jobs. That is why small business development will be the focus of my term in office.

I will cut the red tape, subsidise city-owned property rentals, and carve up big contracts and tenders, so that small businesses can participate in the City’s economy.

I am going to place unskilled residents into skills programmes to build their confidence and their skills and get them into jobs where they can develop and grow.

The Expanded Public Works Programme will be reviewed. There needs to be a transparent, fair and open database of people seeking EPWP jobs. I can assure you that under my government, nobody will need an ANC membership card to get an EPWP job.

From Dobsonville to Lenasia I have met young parents who cannot work because they have nobody to look after their young children.

I will work with the private sector to develop early learning day care centres in townships across Johannesburg. This will allow moms and dads to return to work knowing that their children are being cared for.

For too long too many of Johannesburg’s civil servants have offered extremely poor service. On the 4th of August change is coming.

People who work for our City are going to offer top-class service. They are going to offer service with pride.

This change in attitude is going to extend to the JMPD. The days of turning a blind eye to JMPD officers accepting bribes or unlawfully harassing motorists about their E-toll payments will be gone. Their commitment must be to fighting crime, upholding the law, and protecting everyone.

For months on end, Johannesburg residents were expected to live in filth while Pikitup workers went on strike. The ANC government has used Pikitup as a means to line the pockets of their cronies.

That is not going to happen on my watch.

When the DA is in government, we are going to breakup Pikitup.

I am going to carve up that big tender into seven smaller contracts, so that small businesses have a chance to participate in the economy.

A healthy city is a working city.

I will ensure that clinics are properly resourced and staffed. Clinics will also be opened 24 hours a day to ensure that no one is turned away and residents are able to visit their clinic after work.

The ANC is absolutely correct when they say I am not a politician.

I am not.

And I do not want to be considered a politician.

My motivation for entering public office is to serve the residents of Johannesburg.

I am not doing so because I am a political expert, I am doing so because I am a successful businessman, an entrepreneur, and that, I believe, is what qualifies me to run the economic engine room of the country.

I am a businessman who has never compromised on the quality of the services and products my businesses have offered.

I want to bring my brand of job creation to Johannesburg on the 4th of August, and I want to get this City working again.

Because when Johannesburg works, South Africa works.

The DA has a real chance of winning Johannesburg on the 3rd of August.

We can win and bring change to this City, but only if every one of our supporters gets out on Election Day and votes.

The 3rd of August is one of the most important dates in our democratic history.

Spread the message to your friends and family. Do not let anyone think that their vote is worthless.

Together we can bring change to the City of Johannesburg.

Together we can bring change that creates jobs, delivers better services and fights corruption.

Together we can make this a City of golden opportunities.

On the 3rd of August, vote for change that moves Johannesburg forward.

Vote for the DA.