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Mashaba unveils ActionSA election posters outside symbolic Carlton Centre


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Mashaba unveils ActionSA election posters outside symbolic Carlton Centre

ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba & national chairperson Michael Beaumont
ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba & national chairperson Michael Beaumont

23rd February 2024

By: Thabi Shomolekae
Creamer Media Senior Writer


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The promise of a “better life for all” that former President Nelson Mandela famously uttered at the Carlton Centre in 1994 did not become a reality, according to ActionSA president Herman Mashaba, who noted that 30 years on, most of the country’s people are struggling and poverty is on the rise.

Mashaba was unveiling ActionSA’s election posters outside the Carlton Centre Hotel in Johannesburg, where he highlighted that the party chose the venue for what it symbolised about the decline of South Africa under the ruling African National Congress (ANC) over the past 30 years, and its “failure” to deliver on the promise of a better life for all.


“The brief gains we made shortly after democracy have been reversed through corruption, the breakdown of the rule of law and selfish, unpatriotic leaders. Misguided economic policies such as the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Act of 2003 were designed to enrich a select few, such as President Cyril Ramaphosa himself, while communities such as Khayelitsha and Orange Farm were left behind,” he said.

Mashaba said instead of growing a broad, black middle class, the ruling party chose to benefit a small group of politically connected entrepreneurs who became wealthy through the exploitation of State resources.


During the State capture years, this was nothing less than outright, shameless looting, he stated.

He added that just a couple of years after the ANC hosted its victory celebrations at the Carlton Hotel, the establishment permanently closed its doors, noting the rise of lawlessness in the Johannesburg inner city, which he said made it unfeasible to continue operations.

“. . . a breakdown in service delivery made the inner city unattractive to inhabitants and tourists alike. Infrastructure was left to decay or be vandalised, crime and grime set in, and investment in new infrastructure came to a near standstill. When Transnet bought the building complex in 1999, proposal after proposal was accepted to renovate the precinct but nothing ever came of it as the inner city deteriorated,” Mashaba said.

He said he witnessed first-hand during his tenure as mayor of the City of Johannesburg, the raiding of buildings that had been hijacked by criminal syndicates and that were subjecting residents to inhumane conditions.

“The story of what happened to the Carlton Hotel would be replicated across the City of Johannesburg, and indeed across South Africa under the ruling party. Today, the Ga-Rankuwa Industrial Park, where I helped launch Black Like Me in 1985, is a deserted shadow of its former self as the manufacturing sector left South Africa in search of more favourable alternatives overseas, with greater incentives, a lower cost of doing business, and governments that consider the private sector to be a partner, not an adversary,” he explained.

Mashaba highlighted that economic growth stalled, averaging 1% over 15 years, while the country’s expanded unemployment rate exponentially grew to over 40% - the highest in decades.

He added that today, over 26-million South Africans were dependent on social grants for basic survival.

“That is nothing to celebrate: it is black South Africans who remain the worst off in our society,” he noted.


Mashaba said despite the signs of concern, South Africa’s story would not end here, saying a new chapter was being written.

He explained that this year, citizens had the first “real opportunity” to bring positive change and hope to South Africa and to remove a “cruel government” that had failed to deliver on its promises after 30 years in government.

“This year, we have the opportunity to try something new by taking action to remove the ruling party and replace it with a government that will put the needs of South Africans first. But, we will not do this as armchair critics or by sitting on our hands. It was when I realised this that I entered politics in 2015. I made the decision to take action, and today I want to ask you to do the same,” he said.

He added that in a democracy, citizens were not helpless victims waiting for rescue, instead, he said South African citizens were strong and resilient with the agency to make decisions that would determine their futures.

"They have the power to fix South Africa by taking action," he said.



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