If given the chance, the DA’s newly announced Johannesburg mayoral candidate Herman Mashaba would do away with policies and laws based on race.
This included Black Economic Empowerment.
“If I have the powers to instruct Parliament to… remove all laws and policies that classifies me as a black South African, as a black human being… I can assure you I would do it tomorrow,” the businessman and Black Like Me founder told reporters in Johannesburg shortly after DA leader Mmusi Maimane announced his candidacy on Saturday.
“Addressing the issue of redressing the ills of the past, without any doubt that issue is not negotiable.
“We have to really ensure that [the] majority of our people in particular are really… taken care of. But you can only do that in a functioning economy, not an economy which is growing at 1.4% with unemployment sitting at 35-36%,” he said.
Mashaba said inequality in the country could not be addressed under the current economic environment.
The best way to do this was to allow people, especially black people, to become entrepreneurs.
However, some aspects of the country’s labour laws had been responsible in the last 15 years for destroying small black-owned businesses,” he said.
“I just cannot really understand how anyone can really address the issue of economic success of our people when at the same time you have laws which destroy them.
“I was born and bred in an environment under the apartheid government when PW Botha and people before him made it impossible for people like us to run businesses but I can assure you in my village, Soweto and Alexandra, with my families, people had thriving businesses [that were] against the laws.”
Going into those same communities today it was evident that it was not South Africans running those businesses anymore.
“Now the question we’ve got to ask ourselves as South Africans is [whether] black South Africans have become lazy, have they run out of ideas, how come we no longer running those businesses?” Mashaba asked.
“When you go into our communities today the only opportunity that they have is to first join a political party for them to have access to business opportunities.”
He said government had created a perception that the only way to survive was if it did things for people, but an economy could only be run if government created an environment for business.
In the process entrepreneurs making profits would start to pay tax.
“We need resources, we need money because government doesn’t print money. Government money comes from taxes and taxes come from profit and that’s something our political leadership in this country are failing to really understand,” Mashaba said.
“Let us create an environment where South Africans do business, [and] we don’t have to treat them on racial lines.”
Mashaba believed that having people dependent on the state created public slavery.
“So what you do, you create poverty. You see all the things we are seeing in our country and I believe it’s really so simple to really deal with those issues.
“Let people take personal responsibility for themselves. You as government create an environment for them. As you collect more money [through taxes] ensure that you use that money responsibly and use that money in areas where the needs are the most.” he said.