POLITICAL NEWS - Former Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba and former Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane have released a joint statement clarifying the confusion surrounding their political future.
The pair have been seen often together since they both left the DA, and Maimane has been involved in Mashaba’s project The People’s Dialogue, while also telling eNCA that he wanted to start a new “vehicle”, which would likely be a “movement” rather than a political party.
Mashaba has since announced that his project will aim to become a political party which will contest the 2021 elections, leading to speculation regarding whether Maimane would be joining the party.
The statement clarifies that the two are in fact working on two separate projects, but will collaborate with each other.
“We continue to engage and support each other as we work together to fix South Africa and bring the change we need,” said Mashaba in a tweet accompanied by the statement.
The statement clarifies that Maimane has started his own project, dubbed a Movement for One South Africa, which is separate to Mashaba’s The People’s Dialogue.
“We both resigned from the DA after we independently came to the conclusion that it is no longer the vehicle that can fix and build an inclusive South Africa,” the pair say.
The statement says Mashaba came to the conclusion he should start a political party after the launch of the People’s Dialogue as a registered non-profit company on 6 December 2019. He claims to have engaged with “over 13.7 million South Africans” across various social media platforms, resulting in 1 million engagements “on the future of our country”.
“The message from the participants in the initiative has been clear. While dialogue is important, it must lead to action and a viable political alternative. As such, Herman has made the decision to move towards the formation of a political party that could contest the local government elections in 2021.
“Simultaneously, Mmusi has focused on the establishment of a Movement for One South Africa, an initiative seeking to form a broad coalition of political parties and civil society formations around a shared set of values and principles that could collectively work to fix South Africa and realise our country’s potential,” the statement says.
“Mmusi has spent the last three months traversing the country, engaging potential allies and mobilising community support. Similarly to Herman, he has experienced the frustration felt by ordinary South Africans from all walks of life who believe the current political system has failed them.
“Both initiatives have the common goal of fixing our country and building a South Africa that works for all its people.
The pair say their two projects are not “competing initiatives but complementary ones” and that they have “been sharing ideas and seeking areas for future cooperation” and “collaboration”.
The statement does not rule out the possibility that Maimane might join Mashaba’s new party, saying the “new political party is also under discussion although these discussions are at a very early stage”.
“We would like to emphasise that we have the deepest respect for one another and continue to support each other’s respective independent efforts to deliver real, transformation change in South Africa,” the statement continues.
“Ultimately, the objective of fixing South Africa only be achieved through the collective efforts of all those who stand opposed to corruption and stand for the vision of a South Africa that works for all its people,” it concludes.
(Compiled by Daniel Friedman)