I am ready to bring change to Johannesburg as DA Mayoral Candidate

By Herman Mashaba, DA Mayoral Candidate for Johannesburg:

It is my great privilege today to accept the DA Mayoral candidature for Johannesburg. I would like to thank the Democratic Alliance for putting its faith in me for this crucial campaign.

I am proud to be part of this great movement of change and to campaign for change in South Africa.

Since 1994, Johannesburg has experienced progress. There has been improved housing delivery, utility access, and transport innovations.

However, corruption, hollow promises, poor implementation, and inefficient governance are holding us back, keeping the poor in poverty, and the workless unemployed.

Today’s ANC are not delivering the life-changing opportunities for the many who remain marginalized by apartheid’s legacy.

It’s now time to turn the page on the past and write a new chapter. Local Government is at the forefront of delivering the building blocks of real opportunity for people, and I believe that by bringing change to Johannesburg we can begin to truly redress the imbalances of the past.

Following this nomination, I will visit every ward and community across the length and breadth of this great city. I will listen in the same way as I lead.

And’s that’s why I want to use this moment to share what I will do if elected. I want this city to be the shining gateway into Africa, and South Africa’s springboard into the world.

In this modern age of the city, Johannesburg must compete with dynamic African cities like Cape Town, Nairobi and Lagos. We live in a constantly changing global economy and Johannesburg’s leadership and innovative edge is threatened today by a government that is taking us backwards.

In the Mayor’s office, I will apply the same brand of leadership that I used to build up ‘Black Like Me’ into a business that thrives and feels at home in millions of homes around South Africa. It did not happen by chance. It took grit and drive. When I recruit, employ and train new workers, I identify the skills my companies need and I pursue them with passion. This is how I intend to provide excellent service delivery for all.

I have been privileged to work every day to create jobs for thousands of South Africans, and I intend to bring that same commitment to government in Johannesburg.

In the public service, we need to employ people who can do the job, not friends and family.

Similarly, we need to match people’s jobs to the work available, and relentlessly seek out investment opportunities.

That’s why we must have a proper system for attracting that investment, and investors must know that their investments will be treated fairly. Governments don’t create jobs. But smart city administrations create the conditions for a vibrant private sector in which small and medium business can flourish.

We must give incentives to small business owners who create jobs and give shares to their workers.

We will give title deeds to our citizens to buy their homes and land, so that it becomes much easier for black people to access funds to establish businesses.

We must also ensure that our infrastructure is in good shape and works. As a city we can and must do better to deliver services. I will ensure that every rand spent by the Johannesburg metro government is spent on quality outcomes, is value for money and improves the lives of people.

I will not accept the blunting of opportunity of Johannesburg’s youth any more than I would accept it in my own children.  I will not be satisfied until every person who can work starts the day with a decent job, or their own small business, and prospects upon which to raise their loved ones.

As a parent, I’ve had enough of how drugs destroy the lives of many of our young people. Too often, their schools are the street corners and their educators are the drug lords. A DA government under my leadership will declare war on the dealers of Nyaope and other drugs. We will launch an anti-drug and anti-gang unit in the Metro Police, and we will evict druglords from the properties they rent from the City of Johannesburg.

There is a truth that I’ve know my entire life: the only true freedom is economic freedom. Apartheid was wicked, but young people are becoming impatient with leaders who blame the present only on the past. Creating jobs is the only way to mend our broken society.

When I founded Black Like Me In 1984, black South Africans and white South Africans rarely had any kind of social interaction, and it was unheard of for a black man to approach a white man to join him in business. But with a small business loan I met with people of all races who could help me realise my dream and  I saw how one opportunity could change the life of a young man brought up by a single-parent in near-poverty in GaRamotse.

This is my story, and it has stirred in my heart the call to public service.

My business career has been built upon a bedrock of doing what I promise. I will always be honest and live up to my promises, but I am not afraid to admit when there is something we really can’t do.

As I embark on this great journey, let me simply say this: If you elect me as Mayor, and I do not deliver on the DA’s promises, take back your vote and vote me out. That is the power of the vote, and the power of the people.

Democrats, I would not be doing this if I did not believe that the ANC can and must be defeated in Johannesburg and that the DA can and must bring change to Johannesburg.

The power to change South Africa is in the voters’ hands.

This change starts on the voter registration weekend; 5 and 6 March 2016.

I ask every voter to register and vote for change.

Together, we will change the direction of Africa’s greatest city.