Very few moments in South African politics have offered the same clarity that the past few days have provided on the following perspective:
South Africa and the ANC cannot co-exist in mutual prosperity.
Arising directly from the incarceration of former President Jacob Zuma, factionalism within the ANC has resulted in widespread violence, destruction of property and our esteem in the world reaching new lows.
I write to you to suggest that the events of the past few days need to be a moment that gets people off the proverbial bench and into the game.
I had my moment that got me off the bench in 2015 when Jacob Zuma fired Nhlanhla Nene, consequently resulting in R500 billion being erased from our economy overnight. That was the moment I resigned my business interests and stood as the Mayor of Johannesburg.
Now, you will be pleased to know that I do not think the answer lies in every successful businessperson going into politics. Far from it.
In the past it is has been popular for business in South Africa to remain politically neutral for fear of reprisal from the ANC or any of its political manifestations making business even more difficult. While I have never shared this sentiment, I could at least understand it.
However, in 2021, we have freeways being blocked, trucks on fire, shops being looted, businesses being burnt to the ground, and scenes emanating from our country which produce long-term reputational damage.
Business in South Africa has had to learn how to operate under difficult circumstances. Consider that some businesses weathered the mismanagement of our economy, crawled out of the Covid-19 lockdowns only now to be finished off by mobs of politically driven looters and rioters.
We can all appreciate that under circumstances of anarchy, business cannot survive. These instances of lawlessness may come and go, along with the extent to which they remain in our memories. However, make no mistake, such instances can only increase under continued ANC governance.
The highest sustained unemployment in the world cannot be combined with the highest levels of inequality and our political history without anarchy becoming more frequent and the outbreaks becoming more violent.
Put differently, the argument that impartiality is good for business, no longer holds water. The time has come that the economic risks of picking sides are less severe than the certain demise that will arise from sitting on the fence.
Those of us who have the means to make a difference have an obligation to use our considerable means to make that difference. Speaking more bluntly, we cannot remain neutral in times of great crisis and not be culpable in what will follow.
South Africa has not had a political party capable of challenging the ANC. This is precisely why more people do not vote than those who do. The opposition establishment in South Africa has failed in their ambition and imagination, failing to be anything more than oppositional in nature. As a matter of logic, it is intuitive that business would only incur the risk of being partial when an alternative exists that offers suitable prospects of being a viable alternative.
ActionSA has been created, not to be a small opposition party, but rather one that exists to unseat the ANC in 2024. To accomplish this, we must unseat failing governments in Johannesburg, Tshwane, Ekurhuleni and eThekwini this year and form part of governments that deliver and use these platforms on which to build our national campaign towards 2024.
These objectives can only be achieved if a compelling message of our alternative can be taken to every South African. Our message is compelling, our strategy is clear, so our success lies in whether we can resource a campaign to reach sufficient people under the limitations of these strange times to effect change.
This is why I ask you to join the many wealthy South Africans who are getting behind ActionSA financially. I urge you to do so without fear of reprisal or, at least, with the full knowledge that such reprisal will be inconsequential when compared to the economic costs of inaction.
I share with you in confidence that tomorrow, 14 July 2021, ActionSA will be announcing civil action jointly and severely against the ANC, the Minister of Police and the President of the Republic of South Africa. We will be calling for South Africans to come forward with cases relating to the damage, destruction and looting of their property or businesses.
Our legal team will be representing selected cases to approach our courts so that we can establish a new legal precedent in South Africa. This precedent will serve to ensure that political parties are held accountable for their role in instigating unrest and government is held accountable for their failures to foresee the unrest and act decisively.
As always, I remain open and available to engage on these matters.