Daily Maverick (Johannesburg)

29 May 2014

South Africa: Black Like Who? Mashaba On Race, Business and the DA

analysis

Prominent entrepreneur Herman Mashaba announced this week he has joined the Democratic Alliance. GREG NICOLSON visits him in his office to discuss his decision, politics, and service delivery. Oh, and of course, race.

On the third floor of a Sandton office block, Herman Mashaba wonders why joining the DA is a big deal. Casually dressed in a green and white jumper, he starts the conversation without needing direct questions. Many business people openly support the ANC, so what's interesting about him joining the DA?

Mashaba, who founded the hair products company Black Like Me in 1985 and turned it into an iconic brand and successful business when black entrepreneurs were severely constrained under Apartheid laws, announced his decision to join the DA as an ordinary member on Tuesday. Before 7 May he couldn't believe the ANC would get over 60% nationally. When they did, he told himself, "I've gotta really make a move."

The economy is broken, racism is rife, corruption continues and the Tripartite Alliance can't agree on a plan for SA's future, he reasoned in a statement announcing that he'd joined the DA and that he was stepping down as chair of the Free Market Foundation.

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