ActionSA Eastern Cape chair Athol Trollip declared to Polity on Tuesday that his party does not need to fret over transformation in its ranks as it represents what South Africa is.
The former Nelson Mandela Bay mayor was speaking on the sidelines of ActionSA’s maiden policy conference being held in Johannesburg this week.
About 614 ActionSA delegates are gathered from all nine provinces to discuss the policies that the party will be selling to South Africans ahead of the 2024 general elections.
Trollip rejoined politics following a two-year break, after leaving main opposition party the Democratic Alliance.
He said ActionSA founder and leader Herman Mashaba asked him to join the party to fix South Africa by fixing the Eastern Cape. He added that Mashaba had asked him whether he had done enough in the country, which Trollip said was a profound question given the issues South Africa is battling.
"I live in a broken province in the Eastern Cape. Almost on any index that you want to measure a province against another one, we come last. ActionSA is a completely different political party to what I was involved with before. It just feels naturally, authentically South African because we are a melting pot of South Africans from all different parties. People have had enough of the status quo and they want to change the status quo. I don't feel that ActionSA has to do any kind of transformation. We represent what South Africa is," said Trollip.
During his break, he worked in agriculture, consulting black commercial citrus producers where he said within the first year of being involved with them their exports increased by 30%.
Discussing energy issues, he said the Eastern Cape was often left without electricity as it was on the end of energy provision.
He pointed out that there were many wind farms cropping up and that the province was interested in creating an energy generation mix, while retaining some fossil fuels.
He blamed the government for not ensuring that South Africa had “five star coal”, which it was paying for. He pointed out that theft of coal was a major issue, as was the export of South Africa’s best coal.
"Our best coal is being exported. There is a lot of corruption going on in the coal provision to provide energy. We don't believe that the ANC have got it right. They are just overwhelmed when it comes to this energy crisis. President Cyril Ramaphosa was responsible for what was going on at Eskom in 2015. He has now appointed an Electricity Minister who knows nothing about energy provision. He can dance well but he can't keep the lights on. We are back to stage six now. It looks like we are going to have it for a long time despite their commitments," he said.
Trollip promised the people of Gqeberha "izibani zizokhaya" (the lights will be kept on) as the party gears up for its election campaign.
“We’re not going to give generation over to comrades who are going to steal coal, who are not going to transport coal on road when it should be transported on rail, because they all happen to own trucks. We’re just going to do things the right way. South Africa used to be renowned for being the best energy generation country in the world. We can do that again,” Trollip said.