Herman Mashaba

Democratic Alliance (South Africa) Hammanskraal Mayor of Johannesburg

Herman Mashaba
Consul General Christopher Rowan with Mayor Mashaba and former D.C. Mayor Athony Williams (2).jpg
Leader of ActionSA
Assumed office
29 August 2020
Mayor of Johannesburg
In office
22 August 2016 – 27 November 2019
Preceded byParks Tau
Succeeded byGeoff Makhubo
Personal details
Born (1959-08-26) 26 August 1959 (age 61)
Hammanskraal, Transvaal, South Africa
NationalitySouth African
Spouse(s)Connie Mashaba
Alma materUniversity of Pretoria (BCompt)

Herman Samtseu Philip Mashaba (anglicized from Tsonga spelling Maxaba) is a South African entrepreneur, politician and the current leader of ActionSA, a party he launched on 29 August 2020. He served as the Mayor of Johannesburg from 2016 to 2019. He is the founder of the hair product company Black Like Me.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8] He is famous in South Africa for his life story:[9][10] growing up and struggling against poverty and the Apartheid government to open his own hair business, which became the biggest hair brand in South Africa, making him a millionaire.[11][12][13] He publicly backed Mmusi Maimane in the Democratic Alliance leadership race.[14][15] He wrote the autobiography Black Like You and recently he wrote his new memoir "The accidental mayor".[16] Philosophically, he is a libertarian and "capitalist crusader" whose highest value is "individual freedom."[17]

On 22 August 2016, Mashaba was elected Mayor of Johannesburg by the first sitting of the city council following countrywide local government elections.[18] He announced his resignation on 21 October 2019 [19] and left office on 27 November 2019.

Early life and career

Mashaba was brought up in near-poverty in GaRamotse in Hammanskraal, north of Pretoria by his sisters while his absent domestic-worker mother worked to provide for the family.

His older brother dropped out of school at 15, going from one unsubstantial job to another. Mashaba realised that acquiring an education would be crucial for him to break out of the cycle of poverty. He graduated from high school but did not complete his tertiary education.

From a young age, he was a strategic thinker - he bought a car without having a license and drove out of the dealership without ever having learned to drive. He drove himself from one selling job to another, in the process confirming for himself that he was a natural salesman with an unswerving instinct for business. He started selling "SuperKurl" African hair-care products and became their number-one earner. He soon realised that these products excited him and that he wasn't content to be just an employee.[20]

His company, Black Like Me, was launched on Valentine's Day in 1985 with a R30,000 loan from his friend, businessman Walter Dube.[21]

Mashaba is also a music lover. After five years of secret lessons, he revealed himself as a pianist.[22]


From 2012 until May 2014, Mashaba served as chairman of the Free Market Foundation (FMF).[23] He stepped down from his position when he joined the Democratic Alliance as an "ordinary card-carrying member", citing the need for the Foundation to remain politically impartial.[24]

Mashaba announced in December 2015 that he would accept a nomination to stand as a Democratic Alliance mayoral candidate for the City of Johannesburg in the 2016 local government elections. The other possible DA candidate was Rabelani Dagada.[25]

Mayor of Johannesburg

In the municipal election on 3 August 2016, the ruling party, The African National Congress, lost their majority in Johannesburg, taking only 44.12% of the vote with the Democratic alliance taking 38.33%.[26] The Democratic Alliance entered into conversations with the Economic Freedom Fighters to form a coalition. Whilst the EFF declined the offer, they agreed that they would vote for Mashaba as the Mayor of Johannesburg, despite misgivings.[27]

On 22 August 2016, Mashaba was sworn in as a Johannesburg City Councillor. Later that day, he was sworn in as the Mayor of Johannesburg, the first non-ANC Johannesburg mayor since 1994. On 21 October 2019, he announced his resignation as mayor because of differences with DA party leadership.[28] His resignation took effect on 27 November 2019.[29]


Mashaba has characterised the ANC's post-Apartheid labour laws as "draconian".[23]

He led a Constitutional Court challenge by the FMF, arguing that Section 32 of the Labour Relations Act is unconstitutional.[23] The FMF argued that the bargaining council process reduces competition, as smaller businesses may not be able to afford the higher wages agreed on between larger businesses and unions, contributing further to South Africa's unemployment rate.[30]

Post-mayoral career

Mashaba formed The People's Dialogue, a medium to interact with ordinary South Africans and discuss social and civil issues, which launched on 6 December 2019, and closed on 29 February 2020.[31][32] He has also said that he is willing to run for Mayor of Johannesburg under a different party banner. He added that he would be forming a political party in early 2020.[33]

On 29 August 2020, Mashaba launched the new political party, ActionSA.[34]

Public profile

Allegations of xenophobia

Mashaba has made numerous public comments and actions that have been considered xenophobic and have been linked to incidence of xenophobic attacks and anti-migrant sentiment.[35][36] He has said South Africa has "nothing to apologise for" in reference to xenophobic violence occurring during his tenure as Johannesburg mayor [37][38] While its said Mashaba leaves a xenophobic legacy[39] he has attended a sensitivity program on diversity by the Human Rights Commission.[40]

Support for death penalty

Mashaba supports the reintroduction of the death penalty for rape and murder.[41]


  1. ^ Wanneburg, Gershwin. "Can Black Like Me millionaire Mashaba be ordinary DA member?". www.enca.com. Retrieved 2018-06-29.
  2. ^ "Where will the rainbow end?". The Economist. Retrieved 2018-06-29.
  3. ^ "Stocks". Bloomberg.com. Retrieved 2018-06-29.
  4. ^ "Herman Mashaba on BEE, Labour laws and the state of education". BizNews.com. 2015-05-26. Retrieved 2018-06-29.
  5. ^ "Business divided over industrialists scheme | IOL Business Report". Retrieved 2018-06-29.
  6. ^ Rand Daily Mail article mentioning Herman Mashaba. http://www.rdm.co.za/lifestyle/2015/05/27/to-which-side-do-you-part-your-hair
  7. ^ Mbindwane, Bongani. "Unregulated wages: the curse of the disposable worker | Daily Maverick". Daily Maverick. Retrieved 2018-06-29.
  8. ^ "Why I`m joining the DA - Herman Mashaba - PARTY | Politicsweb". www.politicsweb.co.za. Retrieved 2018-06-29.
  9. ^ "South African Small Business Owners & Entrepreneurs | Fin24". Fin24. Archived from the original on 2015-06-26. Retrieved 2018-06-29.
  10. ^ Madondo, Bongani. "Capitalists like me: It's time to speak truth to power". The M&G Online. Retrieved 2018-06-29.
  11. ^ Nicolson, Greg. "Herman Mashaba: Scrap the Licensing of Business Bill and limit bargaining councils | Daily Maverick". Daily Maverick. Retrieved 2018-06-29.
  12. ^ "Jobs at risk if government bans labour brokers: Herman Mashaba – chairman, Free Market Foundation". Moneyweb. 2013-06-10. Retrieved 2018-06-29.
  13. ^ Sowetan article about Herman Mashaba's take on South African labour law. http://www.sowetanlive.co.za/news/business-news/2012/06/04/labour-law-isn-t-right---herman-mashaba Archived 2018-06-29 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ "Herman Mashaba backs Maimane". DailySun. Retrieved 2018-06-29.
  15. ^ Business Day magazine article about Herman Mashaba's support for the new DA leader Mmusi Maimane. http://www.bdlive.co.za/national/politics/2015/05/01/herman-mashaba-expresses-support-for-maimane
  16. ^ Financial Times article about Mashaba and his autobiography.http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/6a3ff646-10d3-11e3-b291-00144feabdc0.html#axzz3e0mX4D2j
  17. ^ "Libertarian Herman Mashaba elected mayor of Johannesburg". Retrieved 2018-06-29.
  18. ^ "LIVE: Mayor Mashaba - Corruption is public enemy number 1". News24. Retrieved 2018-06-29.
  19. ^ Feketha, Siviwe (21 October 2019). "Herman Mashaba: Why I am resigning from the DA". IOL. Retrieved 21 October 2019.
  20. ^ (Book titled "South Africa's Greatest Entrepreneurs", compiled by Moky Makura, article written by Isabella Morris)
  21. ^ "Story of Black Like Me, and the man behind it | The Star". Retrieved 2018-06-29.
  22. ^ "On the streets with Herman Mashaba". CityPress. Retrieved 2018-06-29.
  23. ^ a b c Ziady, Hanna (2016-02-05). "ANC policies keeping black people poor, says Herman Mashaba". Moneyweb. Retrieved 2017-05-11.
  24. ^ "FMF chairman steps down to join the DA". Moneyweb. 2014-05-28. Retrieved 2017-05-11.
  25. ^ "Herman Mashaba announced as DA's Joburg mayoral candidate". News24. Retrieved 2018-06-29.
  26. ^ http://www.elections.org.za/content/LGEPublicReports/402/Detailed%20Results/GP/JHB.pdf
  27. ^ "EFF will vote for Mashaba, says Malema". News24. Retrieved 2018-06-29.
  28. ^ Manyathela, Clement. "Victory for DA as Herman Mashaba is elected Mayor of Johannesburg".
  29. ^ "Mashaba resigns as Johannesburg mayor following Zille's return". The Citizen. 21 October 2019. Retrieved 21 October 2019.
  30. ^ Radebe, Kentse (2013-03-05). "Collusion in labour legislation decision-making". Moneyweb. Retrieved 2017-05-11.
  31. ^ "WATCH: Mashaba launches dialogue platform for social change [video]". IOL. 6 December 2019. Retrieved 22 March 2020.
  32. ^ "The four big things Herman Mashaba says his new party will focus on". The Citizen News. Citizen. 5 March 2020. Retrieved 22 March 2020.
  33. ^ Nkenjani, Unathi (18 December 2019). "Herman Mashaba will consider another mayoral term if SA calls for it". TimesLIVE. Retrieved 18 December 2019.
  34. ^ Deklerk, Aphiwe (29 August 2020). "Former Joburg mayor Herman Mashaba launches his new ACTIONSA party". TimesLIVE. Retrieved 2 September 2020.
  35. ^ "South Africa: Years of impunity for xenophobic crimes driving the latest attacks". Amnesty International. 2019-09-04. Retrieved 2020-07-16.
  36. ^ "Right2Know blames Mashaba, Ramaphosa, Zwelithini for attacks on foreigners". www.iol.co.za. Retrieved 2020-07-16.
  37. ^ "Joburg mayor Herman Mashaba on xenophobia: 'There is nothing to apologise for'". SowetanLIVE. Retrieved 2020-07-16.
  38. ^ "Joburg mayor Herman Mashaba on xenophobia: 'There is nothing to apologise for'". TimesLIVE. Retrieved 2020-07-16.
  39. ^ "Mashaba's xenophobic legacy". The Mail & Guardian. 2019-11-07. Retrieved 2020-07-16.
  40. ^ "Johannesburg Mayor Mashaba attend sensitivity programme at HRC". www.sahrc.org.za. Retrieved 2020-07-16.
  41. ^ Mashaba, Herman (6 February 2020). "Herman Mashaba: SA needs death penalty for murder and rape". City Press. Retrieved 2 September 2020.