Manifesto: ActionSA ready to govern and build a prosperous SA – Herman Mashaba

Leader says we cannot continue to vote for the same old political parties and expect change to occur

ActionSA ready to govern and build a prosperous SA for all

23 March 2024

Note to editor: These remarks were made by ActionSA President, Herman Mashaba, at the Launch of our National Elections Manifesto. These remarks were made in Johannesburg this afternoon.




Goeie Middag;





To my wife, Connie Mashaba and our children who are joining us here today.

And most importantly, you my fellow, South Africans, Good Afternoon.

Today marks a historic moment for ActionSA as we take another step closer to 29 May 2024, and the watershed election where our mission is to usher in a new era of hope, and prosperity for the people of South Africa.

Today, three and a half years after we launched under a global lockdown, to an online-only audience, ActionSA is presenting our first National Election Manifesto, to the people of South Africa.

On 29 August 2020, millions of patriotic South Africans joined us in launching ActionSA, because they wanted a credible, non-racial alternative to the failed political establishment.

The manifesto we launch today, gives effect to the commitment we made to the people of South Africa.

This manifesto is not a long list of populist promises and unrealistic commitments.

It is a vision of what is possible under an ethical and competent government, and forms a pragmatic, and implementable plan to fixing South Africa, by addressing the greatest challenges facing our people.

As a successful businessman, who built Black Like Me at the height of Apartheid, I have never believed in making promises that I cannot keep, but in taking action to show people what is possible.

That’s why our Manifesto is an action plan to build an inclusive and prosperous future for our country, because only action will fix South Africa.

And let me tell you, this year action is possible in South Africa.

Our plan will unlock millions of new jobs, safer communities, secured borders, access to quality education and healthcare for all, and for the first time, the inclusive empowerment of all previously disadvantaged South Africans, as well as those who have been hamstrung by three decades under an uncaring, unethical and unpatriotic government.

Fellow South Africans,

The problems we face are visible for all to see. Crime is spiralling out of control, our ports are in chaos, trains are not running, and unemployment and inequality is on the rise.

Despite false promises of a new dawn, life for most South Africans is more difficult than it was in 2018.

When President Ramaphosa sought to highlight the successes of his government, by using the image of a citizen named Tintswalo, he demonstrated just how out of touch the ruling party has become with lived experience of the majority of South Africans.

Yes, some progress was made in the initial period after 1994.

But then the cancer of corruption and cadre deployment took root, and the hopes and dream of ordinary South Africans became a forgotten priority.

I say this without fear of contradiction, because joining us today are real Tintswalo’s who have not benefited from the false narrative Ramaphosa and the ruling would like to paint.

As they have shared with members of the media at a press briefing yesterday, life for these Tintswalo’s is a daily struggle.

As we commemorated Human Rights Day in Sharpeville on Thursday, we were reminded of how we failed to achieve the dreams democracy promised.

Food and fuel prices have increased exponentially.

There are more unemployed South Africans today than there were in 1994.

Our education system has not kept up with our global peers, with fewer pupils being able to read for meaning than in 2018.

Where we are gathered here today, in the Johannesburg inner city, we are surrounded by hijacked buildings, rubbish piling up and robberies taking place in the light of day.

Services are unreliable, and load shedding, and water shedding, are a way of life. Efficient public transport has all but collapsed, and crime is spiralling out of control.

It breaks my heart when I think that 84 South Africans are being murdered ever day, as criminals no longer fear going to prison.

We cannot carry on like this.

I would like to invite these Tintswalo’s to stand up, and greet the audience. We salute your bravery in standing against the ruling party’s attempts to abuse your name to sell their lies.

But, I also want to tell you that on 29 May the era of lies, broken promises, and failed government can come to end.

We can usher in an era of action that will move South Africa forward.

Fellow South Africans,

I do not want to dwell on our challenges as a nation any longer.

We all know these too well.

In February last year I launched our South African Dream – ActionSA’s vision for an inclusive, and prosperous future for all.

Today, I want to share our plans to fix our greatest challenges, and give effect to this South African Dream.

While there are countless challenges facing our people, I would like to focus on five key areas that, as the leader of an ActionSA government, I would make my top priorities:

One: Within five years of government, we will launch programs that will result in the private sector creating over 4.8 million new, real jobs.

Two: We will end load shedding within two years in government.

This is something that should have been done a decade ago.

Three: We will ensure economic inclusive and economic justice by implementing Inclusive Economic Empowerment, a Universal Basic Income Stimulus, and a programme of insourcing.

Four: We will restore the rule of law, stamp out corruption, and fight the scourge of drug abuse, and, gender-based violence.

Five: We will secure our borders, and prioritise South Africa’s interests, by bringing an end to the inflow of illicit goods into the country, while streamlining legal immigration.

Fellow South Africans, allow me to elaborate on these plans to fix South Africa -

Firstly, an ActionSA government will take action to implement programs, which will lead to the private sector creating at least 4.8 million new, real jobs, by 2029.

South Africans are not lazy. They want to work.

But, job-killing economic policies and poor-quality education are holding us back from unlocking an employment revolution.

An ActionSA government will seek an average of 5% economic growth, over five years, by supporting entrepreneurs, decreasing the cost of doing business, and re-establishing South Africa, as a viable investment, and business destination.

We will invest in key industries with high potential job creation, such as green energy, mining, agriculture, and emerging technologies.

We will reform labour, and minimum wage legislation, to make it easier for new businesses to hire new employees, and dismiss non-performing staff.

And, we will transform South Africa’s cities into inclusive economic centres, by reclaiming hijacked buildings, and unused factories for private sector mixed-use development, that includes affordable accommodation and, rental opportunities for emerging businesses.

This will directly start to address the legacy of apartheid spatial planning, by providing housing opportunities close to job opportunities.

Babelegi Industrial Area and the Ga-Rankuwa Industrial Park, where I launched Black Like Me in 1985, are examples of this.

Once a hive of industry, today stand largely abandoned.

We will reinvigorate these areas, and unlock thousands of jobs, by handing them over to emerging entrepreneurs to start manufacturing businesses.

We will incentive businesses, both local and international, to invest in these abandoned industrial areas, and create employment opportunities for South Africans.

Central to fixing the economy is fixing our education system.

We will fix our schools by breaking the power of unions over school appointments.

And, whether they like it or not, we will reintroduce school inspectors, to ensure that across South Africa quality teaching takes place.

We will invest in new universities and TVET colleges, re-introducing specialised training colleges such teaching, policing, nursing, agriculture and artisanal skills, like plumbing and electrical work.

We will expand the lifelong skills development programs, to ensure our people always have opportunities to gain additional skills, throughout their careers.

And, we will ensure universal access to tertiary education funding, by increasing the budgetary allocation to combat the failed NSFAS system.

Under ActionSA, no academically qualifying student will be excluded from further education because they lack the funds to study.

We will ensure that student funding will be a top priority, ahead of any government expense.

Fellow South Africans,

Our careful economic modelling has shown that these interventions, amongst others I will outline later, will collectively create at least 4.8 million new, and sustainable jobs, by 2029.

This will reduce unemployment to roughly 18%.

These will not be a mere temporary work opportunities celebrated by the ruling party, but sustainable jobs that provide reliable income, and create a pathway out of poverty.

Secondly, an ActionSA government will take action to permanently end load shedding, within two years in government.

Earlier this month I unveiled ActionSA’s nine-point plan to end load shedding, stabilise energy provision, and introduce competition into our electricity market, alongside a streamlined Eskom.

This will ensure that businesses are no longer harmed, when they have to close their doors, when the electricity off.

Under our plan, we will end nepotism at Eskom, to ensure that the entity is staffed with highly skilled employees, who are appointed based on merit and competency, not political affiliation.

We will combat crime in the energy system, by declaring the stealing, and vandalising, of public property, such as electricity lines, and substations, as economic sabotage, through legislation.

We will shield critical services, such as police stations, hospitals, and schools, from load shedding, to ensure they can continue to deliver their services uninterrupted.

In too many communities, crime spikes when load shedding occurs, and we, therefore, have to do more to protect our communities.

Most importantly, we would decentralise the energy market, and establish a competitive energy market, to ensure that the private industry competes with Eskom.

We would furthermore, transition South Africa to using more, renewable energy sources in our energy system, to promote environmental sustainability, while safeguarding communities reliant on the coal mining industry, for survival!

We will harness solar power, by providing low-income houses, with universal access to rooftop solar panels, and solar-powered geysers.

We will enhance critical skills development, by introducing specialised training programmes, that focus on building the skills required to maintain South Africa’s energy grid.

Collectively we believe these actions will permanently end load shedding!

In 17 years since load shedding was first implemented in 2007, the ruling party has failed to end it, but an ActionSA government will end load shedding within two years.

Thirdly, an ActionSA government will take action to ensure economic inclusive and economic justice. We will implement Inclusive Economic Empowerment, a Universal Basic Income Stimulus, and a programme of insourcing.

ActionSA is unapologetic in our believe in the empowerment of black, coloured, and Indian South Africans. As long as a correlation between race and access to opportunity exists, we cannot claim to have realised the promise of a free and equal South Africa.

A keystone of an ActionSA government’s policy, will be the introduction of the Inclusive Economic Empowerment Act, or IEE, which includes the establishment of an Opportunity Fund, as alternative to failed current government policies, that have worsened inequality and left tens of millions trapped in poverty.

The Opportunity Fund, will be used to invest in programmes that will ensure equality of opportunity, as opposed to equality of outcome.

Instead of focussing on the empowerment of tenderpreneurs, and the political connected few oligarchies.

We will use the Opportunity Fund to invest in tertiary education funding, entrepreneurial stimulus, and infrastructure investment in under-served communities.

To address inequality, we must focus on the root cause, not just window dressing for the sake of compliance.

That’s why we will replace the compliance costs of existing empowerment legislation, estimated at 4%-6% of company profits with an Opportunity Fund Levy.

This new legislation will apply for 30 years.

This bold step introduces a 5% company tax for all companies, excluding SMMEs, and is projected to raise about R55.7 billion in the 1st year, and will grow in line with the annual growth of our country’s economic performance!

Additionally, we will expand social welfare by implementing a Universal Basic Income Stimulus (UBIS) in addition to increasing existing grants. 

The stimulus, which is linked to poverty bands, will initially be paid for a period of three years through monthly cash transfers consisting of R663 in the first year, R1058 in the second year, and R1558 in the third year.

The Universal Basic Income Stimulus Grant will be provided to all adult South Africans and permanent residents who register as UBIS recipients. The UBIS, which is linked to poverty bands, will initially be paid for a period of three years through monthly cash transfers consisting of R790 in the first year, R1101 in the second year, and R1622 in the third year. This will increase the growth of South Africa's economy by at least 2 additional percentage points measured against projected GDP growth and create an additional 1.6 million jobs.

We simply cannot be celebrating people being depended on R350, or R370, a month.

We assert that the success of an ActionSA government, should be judged on how many people we manage to get off of the social welfare system.

However, we will continue to support those in need of social grants.

Furthermore, ActionSA believes that outsourcing of core services by government departments and entities resulted in unfair and exploitative labour practices faced by workers.

As I did as the Mayor of the City of Johannesburg, ActionSA, will prioritise insourcing, by ensuring that workers at all levels of government, who are performing core functions of a permanent nature, are made permanent employees, subject to the necessary feasibility studies.

We will also compel government departments to perform feasibility studies before outsourcing any functions, and instead, focus on building on internal capacity as far as possible.

Fourthly, an ActionSA government will take action to restore the rule of law, stamp out corruption and fight the scourge of drug abuse, and gender-based violence.

No country can flourish, and no economy can grow in a state of chaos.

Tackling crime and violence in South Africa, requires addressing the underlying socio-economic drivers of crime, while ensuring that a capable Criminal Justice System prosecutes all offenders.

Within the first year of taking over government, ActionSA will professionalise the police, and re-establish its independence, by hiring career policemen over politicians to lead the service.

We will launch a recruitment drive to expand the police force, and implement strict physical condition requirements for entering the police service.

We will cut the government’s R3.7 billion budget for VIP protection, and instead reallocate these funds towards crime prevention and visible policing. There is no need for extravagant blue-light convoys when our communities feel unsafe.

We will re-establish specialise policing units in murder, rape, drugs and financial crimes, which the ruling party disbanded to protect themselves and their cadres.

Units, like the Brixton Murder and Robbery specialised unit – which was highly effective in combatting crime – will be brought back so that we can turn the tide on crime in South Africa.

We will reform the penal code to ensure that bail is abolished for repeat offenders of serious crimes, such as rape, drug syndicates, and murder, while reviewing minimum sentencing guidelines.

Under ActionSA, a life in prison will mean a life in prison.

And, prisoners will be required to participate in prisoner work programmes, that focus on public works such as agriculture and maintenance.

Prison will no longer be a holiday resort, but a place where prisoners repay their debt to society.

We will capacitate the NPA, and establish specialised courts, to deal with specific crime categories, such as organised crime and corruption, to increase the efficiency of convictions, and to improve accountability.

ActionSA will prioritise the fight against substance abuse, and drug trafficking.

This evil in our society needs our utmost attention. I and many South Africans, have seen first-hand the damage it inflicts in our communities.

Enough is enough!!!

ActionSA will make fighting drug abuse a key focus of our government.

We will treat addiction as a medical issue requiring treatment and support, while taking a zero-tolerance approach to drug dealers and drug traffickers.

ActionSA will intensify the illegality of the narcotics trade, whilst providing medical support, and increased access to rehabilitation treatment, to people suffering from substance abuse addiction.

As I did as the City of Johannesburg mayor, we will roll out substance abuse clinics countrywide, to ensure that our communities get the help they need.

We will not punish those who suffer from addiction, but, criminally prosecute those engaged in the illicit narcotics trade.

In addition to fighting crime, and substance abuse, we will declare corruption as Public Enemy Number 1.

Central to this, we will allocate a fixed percentage of the annual national budget, towards our fight against corruption.

This will ensure that officials and investigators, tasked with combatting corruption, are sufficiently equipped, and resourced, to identify and prosecute corrupt acts effectively.

ActionSA will reintroduce the Scorpions, which was highly successful, in tackling high-profile corruption, until it was disbanded, for investigating Jacob Zuma’s bribery allegations.

Furthermore, we will amend the Constitution to introduce a permanent Chapter 9 anti-corruption institution, to investigate and prosecute corruption cases.

Fifthly, ActionSA WILL secure our borders, to bring an end to illegal immigration, and the inflow of illicit goods, while streamlining legal immigration.

We have always said that we want the people of the world to come to South Africa, but, they must do so legally and when they are here, they must obey our laws.

Last year, travelling in Limpopo, I saw first-hand how this unpatriotic government has allowed the collapse of our country’s borders.

Fixing this issue, starts with securing our porous borders!

We remain unapologetic about our stance on this. We will stop the flow of illicit, and counterfeit goods, which endanger the lives of our people, and in particular, our children!

The inflow of these illicit goods, also hurts our economy.

Furthermore, we will prioritise the fight against cross-border human trafficking.

In addition to securing our borders, we will overhaul Home Affairs to clamp down on corruption, and the issuing of fraudulent documentation.

Under an ActionSA government, the printing of falsified identity documents will never be allowed.

This practice will be treated as treason!!!

Our policy on immigration, will ensure that we streamline the process of legal immigration for those who qualify, especially, those with scarce skills our economy needs.

We will make it easier to obtain visas and work permits for those wishing to enter South Africa legally.

South Africa needs foreign investment and critical skills to grow its economy.

But, we will not shy away from deporting undocumented criminals and those with no legitimate claim to asylum, refugee status or residency.

We find it unacceptable to be insulted by those who expect us to be silenced when we highlight this crisis South Africa is facing.

As I am addressing you now, there is a woman somewhere in our country giving birth. Immediately upon delivery of her child, a birth certificate must be issued. Upon turning 16, all South African youth, must apply for identity document. Every time a person dies in our country, a death certificate must be issued.

Why then are we insulted, and expected not to question foreign nationals to comply with these legal obligations, that South Africans must respect? 

Fellow South Africans,

As previously mentioned, the plans we are presenting today, are pragmatic and implementable.

Good plans without the capacity, and, the political will to implement them, amounts to nothing!

That is why, underpinning all our plans, is a roadmap to building a functioning civil service, that will deliver with pride.

From ending nepotism and instead base appointments on merit, to reprioritising our budget toward frontline services and infrastructure, we have given great thought to the foundation required to implement the plans I have laid out.

An ActionSA government will be decisive to reduce the number of national government departments to approximately 20, and eliminate the position of deputy minister in all departments.

No underperforming minister will ever be kept in place.

And, let me be clear: ActionSA will take a zero tolerance approach to service delivery failures, especially in the case of municipal governance.

Local government is the coalface of service delivery in our communities, and, when they fail, that is where residents suffer the most.

Where we govern provincially, ActionSA will, therefore, not hesitate to place them under administration.

If local government leaders cannot deliver basic services, we take over the running of these municipalities.

Further to this, we believe in a whole-society approach to fixing South Africa.

This must begin with advancing the value of family.

Strong families, in all their forms, are at the core of a cohesive society.

I have often spoken about how the support of my wife, and family, has carried me through the darkest times and saved me from myself.

Earlier this month I celebrated 42 years of marriage to Connie Mashaba, and to this day, I believe marrying her was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

To conclude, my fellow South Africans, I want to say with utmost confidence that the plans we have outlined above, will fundamentally improve the lives of our people.

We will create a country we can all be proud to call home, and turn the promise of the South African Dream, into a new South African reality!

Hope for South Africa is not lost.

It is possible to live in a country where we reduce inequality, where everyone has access to opportunity, and where our people are safe to live healthy lives.

Together with Team Fix South Africa, of potential ministers. which we unveiled two weeks ago, ActionSA believes we have the skills and expertise necessary to fix South Africa, and, restore the country to a path of prosperity.

From chartered accountants, to engineers, to disability activists, ActionSA has the leadership necessary, not, to just join a coalition government, but, to lead a multi-party government towards success.

However, for change to occur in our country, it requires that we take action at the ballot box on May 29.

Change is not going to happen overnight.

It will require the hard work of every day South Africa, such as the thousands gathered here today, to go out and spread ActionSA’s message.

Elections are not won through media interviews and newspaper reports, but through the daily interactions with voters across South Africa.

In the weeks ahead, we have to build on this momentum to bring hope to many people who have been let down by the political establishment.

For us to fix South Africa,

It will require the courage and, bravery, to vote for something new, and place our trust in a credible alternative to the failed political establishment.

As I have said before, we cannot do the same thing and expect different outcomes.

We cannot continue to vote for the same old political parties and expect change to occur.

For us to build a better tomorrow, it will require that we vote for action on May 29.

Because Only Action Will Fix South Africa.

Issued by Herman Mashaba, President, ActionSA, 23 March 2024