ActionSA regards it necessary to provide clarification on the matter of The Outsider – the biography authored by Prince Mashele about Herman Mashaba’s life and political experience. Such a clarification was only possible this morning following the return late last night of Mashaba from an international trip with his family.
ActionSA notes various media reports which have incorrectly sought to make this matter about the integrity of Mashaba. These false allegations cannot go uncontested.
It is necessary to clarify that the book was not an ActionSA project and was initiated 2 years before ActionSA was launched while Mashaba was still the Mayor of Johannesburg. The project involved a 3-year in-depth research exercise into Mashaba’s life.
A plan to finance the book was presented by Mashele to Mashaba in October 2018 but when it became clear that raising the funds would be challenging, Mashaba agreed to provide the initial finance of R12.5 million in his personal capacity.
A contract was signed in March 2019 which provided explicit editorial control of content to the author, Mashele. Mashaba was to provide access for interviews and was availed with manuscripts from time to time to comment on factual accuracy. Mashaba was forthcoming about his role in reviewing the manuscript for accuracy at the recent launch of the book. The following is an excerpt of the signed contract:
“While the Subject [Mashaba] shall be entitled to make suggestions regarding the inclusion of certain important events, facts or such other details, the Author shall be the ultimate owner of the contents of the Biography.”
Financing a project does not provide editorial control of content which has been a surprising claim by some members of the media, whose publications are owned by private financial interests. Mashaba had no relationship with the publishers, Jonathan Ball Publishers, and this relationship was dealt with by Mashele as was determined in the contract since in March 2019.
It must be clarified that Mashaba had no prior sight of the cover of the book and specifically the sub-heading “An unauthorised biography of Herman Mashaba.” This was agreed between Mashele and the publishers. ActionSA cannot comment on Mashele’s dealings with the publisher, or what he did or did not disclose to them, as neither ActionSA nor Mashaba were involved in these discussions.
With these matters having been clarified, it is necessary to ask the question about Brutus Malada who is alleged to have received over R3 million of the budget for his research into the book over the past 3 years. During this time Malada appears to have suffered from no moral dilemma, which appears to have arisen only after a fallout with Mashele.
ActionSA stands behind the ethical integrity of its President, Herman Mashaba, which remains unimpeached. Opportunistic political opponents have sought to use this matter to score political points against ActionSA because of our party’s rapid growth trajectory. ActionSA stands proud that the President of our party has lived a remarkable life with many achievements that have given him the means to finance this project and share a story that is worthy of being told.
Like our President, ActionSA will proceed to focus on the pressing challenges facing South Africans and the solutions that are needed to Fix South Africa.