Mashaba, Maimane to drive People's Dialogue next year

Mashaba, Maimane to drive People's Dialogue next year
Johannesburg - Former Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba says the People’s Dialogue he and former DA leader Mmusi Maimane will promote early next year will inform the nature of the political formation they will establish.

“I believe the South African political landscape is littered with failed parties (that were) started up for their (founders’) own reasons rather than from a serious mandate given by the people of this country.

“We are going to listen to the people of South Africa and, together, decide how it (People’s Dialogue)should move forward into a phase of action,” Mashaba said.

He launched the People’s Dialogue days after he quit the DA and the mayoral position in an apparent protest against the election of former Western Cape premier Helen Zille as DA federal council chairperson in October.

Mashaba said he was looking at forming a people-driven political party that would be “free from the constraints of political ideology and political self-interest”.

He said he would spend the festive season driving the dialogue on social media in order to reach out to as many people as possible.

“From there, my intention is to begin a programme of town hall meetings with the people of this country, so that we can engage more directly on the solutions we need.”

Apart from Mashaba and Maimane, no prominent figures have been associated with their political initiative.

Political analyst Daniel Silke advised Mashaba and Maimane to recruit prominent political figures who had skills and experience in leadership if they wanted to succeed.

But Mashaba said he was aiming to include people who were not career politicians, as politicians had broken the political system by failing to deliver on the promises they had made to the people.

He was upbeat about the interest shown in their political initiative in some quarters.

“There has been enormous interest from people with and (without) political backgrounds.

“I am interested in engaging high-profile South Africans who have succeeded in their respective fields, who have skills outside of politics, and engaging them to be a part of this dialogue,” he said.

Mashaba said they would kick-start the new year by going on a massive campaign to galvanise South Africans to support their efforts to form a new political formation.

“In January, we are going to be engaging in an intensive discussion around key issues, which form part of the experience of South African people, and engaging our people to obtain their views on how we can improve our country,” he said.

Unisa political analyst Professor Somadoda Fikeni warned Mashaba and Maimane to put aside their egos to avoid infighting, which had engulfed Cope and resulted in a stillborn party.

“There is that complex where Mashaba was the mayor and Maimane was the ‘president’ and Maimane may want to be the president (of the new party) and Mashaba may say, ‘But I’m the one who has fundraised and I am the implementer,” Fikeni warned.

Politics Bureau