Herman Mashaba will not talk about losing. Sitting on a red sofa in Sandton’s Southern Sun Hotel, I try to raise the possibility of a coalition government in Johannesburg.
“No, Greg, I refuse anyone saying, ‘If I don’t win…’ Do you think I can go into this serious matter to lose? I can assure you we’re going to win this.”
“But there is a possibility that…”
“What possibility? That possibility doesn’t exist. People of Johannesburg are tired. People of Johannesburg are ready for change, and I believe that my [role], as a leader of the DA team in this city, is to tell people of Johannesburg, ‘Please give us an outright majority,’ and I assure you they’ll give us an outright majority.”
On Saturday, DA leader Mmusi Maimane announced that Mashaba, self-assured and fast-talking, would be the party’s candidate for Johannesburg mayor in this year’s local government elections. He beat the only other candidate for the role, Professor and Councillor, Rabelani Dagada. The DA is targeting the municipality, along with Tshwane and Nelson Mandela Bay, after the ANC’s support declined here from 59% in 2011 to 52% in 2014. But with the ANC governing the city since democracy, and other parties also vying for the prize, the DA faces stiff competition.
The 56-year-old Mashaba has told his story many times, particularly through his first book Black Like You, and will tell it many more times during the election. He was raised in GaRamotse outside Hammanskraal, his father a pharmacy assistant and mother ...........