/ 23 March 2024

Focus on jobs and borders as Mashaba launches ActionSA manifesto

Actionsa Manifesto 1
Herman Mashaba and ActionSA leaders celebrate the party's manifesto launch on Saturday. Photo: @Action4SA/X

ActionSA has launched its 2024 election manifesto with a 30 year “opportunity fund” to replace black economic empowerment and a promise to secure South Africa’s borders and overhaul its criminal justice system.

It has also made the bold promise of establishing the conditions under which the private sector can create 4,8 million “real” and sustainable jobs by 2029, should it come to power in the coming elections.

ActionSA has also promised to end load-shedding within two years through steps including using economic sabotage charges to break criminal syndicates milking Eskom, and by introducing alternative energy sources and a local grid system.

The party – born from a breakaway from the Democratic Alliance (DA) in August 2020 – will contest national and provincial elections for the first time in 29 May, but hopes to once again “shock” its critics and play a role in national government after the poll

Addressing the manifesto launch at the Ellis Park arena on Saturday, party president Herman Mashaba said the party had been launched as people wanted a ‘credible non-racial alternative of the failed political establishment.’

The party’s manifesto was not a “ long list of populist promises and unrealistic commitments” but was rather a “vision of what is possible under an ethical and competent government,” Mashaba said.

ActionSA has identified 18 key areas in which it has appointed “champions”, effectively shadow ministers, a number of whom delivered details of their plans for action in each sector as part of the manifesto launch.

Mashaba said ActionSA would streamline government, prioritising infrastructure and front line services.

Cabinet would be cut to a maximum of 20 posts, while doing away with deputy minister positions.

The current R3.7 billion budget for VIP security would be reallocated to frontline policing, while any non-performing minister would be removed from office immediately.

Mashaba said they would create conditions for investment and job creation by handing hijacked buildings and deserted industrial parks to the private sector and by stimulating an inclusive economy to address issues of economic injustice.

Government would insource all functions that it possibly could, to build capacity and do away both over-reliance on consultants and the exploitation of workers currently retained on contract for decades, especially at municipal level.

Mashaba said ActionSA would treat drug addiction as a medical and not a criminal issue, with the emphasis being placed on rehabilitation, while cracking down on those involved in drug trafficking.

“We will not punish those who suffer from addiction, but will criminally prosecute those who are engaged in the illegal narcotics trade,” Mashaba said.

Rehabilitation clinics would be opened at community level to provide desperately needed services that were currently lacking, with ActionSA focusing on the need to address the underlying social and economic drivers of crime.

However, there would be no easy time in jail for those convicted of serious crimes, as ActionSA will put prisoners to work to ensure that they “repay their debt to the society they have harmed”. 

ActionSA wants a review of the minimum sentencing for crimes like rape, murder and corruption, and would also ensure that “life in prison will mean life in prison”.

The party will reintroduce specialised policing units, including the Scorpions and the Brixton Murdery and Robbery Unit and specialised narcotics and sexual crimes units in order to secure more prosecutions, Mashaba said.

South Africa’s border controls would be tightened by boosting the Border Management Authority and “cleaning up” the Department of Home Affairs.

This would include a skills and lifestyle audit on all staff, along with the country’s repatriation centres.

The visa regime would be overhauled to make it easier for foreign nationals to enter South Africa legally, and to smoothen the process of bringing scarce skills – along with tourists and foreign investment – into South Africa.

Illegal foreign nationals – and those convicted of crimes in South Africa – would be deported.

Mashba said the party was “unapologetic” about its stance on immigration as foreign nationals were expected to respect the same rules and document regime as locals.

Mashaba described the manifesto as a “roadmap to build a functioning civil service that will deliver with pride” and consisted of “pragmatic” measures which were all “implementable”.

The party will not back the National Health Insurance as mooted by the ANC, but will instead focus on building local level health care; ensuring that people with medical aid get “value for money”.

Government officials – and MPs and ministers – would be expected to use the state health system.

ActionSA is currently South Africa’s sixth largest party, despite having only contested six municipalities countrywide in 2021.

It is now represented in all 52 districts in South Africa and is on the ballot in all nine provinces.