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In August 2016 Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress lost their majority in Johannesburg and Herman Mashaba, the Democratic Alliance candidate, became the city’s first non-ANC mayor, post apartheid.

After high school Mashaba started selling African hair care products and became the company’s top earner.  Mashaba secured a substantial loan from another businessman and launched his own hair care products company, which became the biggest hair brand in South Africa making him a millionaire.

Now the Tycoon is a mayor, but Mashaba is also a political novice.

He immediately ordered more visible policing, a cleanup campaign, and repairs to roads. Two years prior, he joined The Democratic Alliance, which is considered a White elitist party, and Mashaba’s opponents have branded him a sellout.

Mashaba describes himself as a democrat and a libertarian.

Because of the historical legacy of apartheid the national authorities (the ANC who has ruled for 22 years) have intervened systematically to resolve poverty and inequality, but Mashaba said, “I am against the government trying to solve everything.  Society deserves less government…As long as we don’t adopt freedom policies we are not going to succeed.  For any country to create wealth, you need individual freedom.”   And he has “begged” businesses across the globe to help Johannesburg.

A professor of politics in Cape Town stated there is strong anti-welfare state sentiment among many Black South Africans.  “The ANC talk a kind of quasi-Marxist language, but…The country has had a Black commercial class for a century and a half.” And Mashaba’s “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” message appeals to those against a “culture of dependency”.

He also accused the ANC of using race to divide the nation, he doesn’t approve of their affirmative action legislation and wants to do away with any mention of race.  He does not want to be classified as a Black man by the government.

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