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ActionSA manifesto condemns xenophobia, pushes basic income

ActionSA manifesto condemns xenophobia, pushes basic income
Action SA president Herman Mashaba at the opening ceremony of the party’s policy conference in Boksburg on 12 September 2023. (Photo: Felix Dlangamandla)

In a surprise move Herman Mashaba has taken a more sensible approach to migration than before in a manifesto that is level-headed and innovative, with proposals that just might do the trick.

All about…

  • ActionSA’s manifesto has done the maths, and proposes an innovative and possibly unifying opportunity fund;
  • Herman Mashaba has dropped the language of xenophobia, but still punts secure borders and South Africans first;
  • It’s one of the better manifestos we’ve seen.

Basic income and social policy

  • A basic monthly income will be provided to registered adult South Africans and permanent residents. The government will pay R790 (year one), R1,101 (year two) and R1,622 (year three), with the numbers set by 2023 low, median and high food poverty data lines, and to increase at inflation rate;
  • This is expected to yield GDP growth of two percentage points a year.

Climate change and the environment

  • Increase water supply by investing in research, including affordable desalination of seawater, better infrastructure and water supply monitoring;
  • More bulk water supply storage, better water allocation, more demand reduction measures;
  • Support conservation programmes, encourage recycling and increase environmental protection.

Crime and corruption

  • More police on the ground and more paid reservists;
  • Make it easier to own guns legally, and more challenging to possess them illegally;
  • Life imprisonment means for life; better reskilling and social integration training for prisoners who do not get life sentences;
  • Expanded court capacity; enhanced powers for magistrates’ courts; specialised criminal courts.


  • An opportunity fund of R55.7-billion, annually capitalised by a 5% corporate tax increase (it calls it a levy) over 30 years;
  • Businesses can recoup the tax by scrapping B-BBEE legislation, which the party calculates has a compliance cost of 4% to 6% of turnover annually;
  • This will be invested in an opportunity fund to support black, coloured, Indian and Asian South Africans who remain disadvantaged (which suggests it will be means tested);
  • A board will independently govern the fund and hold funds for entities such as the National Youth Development Agency. Allocations will be 10% to tertiary education, 30% to entrepreneurial funding, 35% to infrastructure and 25% towards further investment.


  • No child must spend more than an hour travelling to school;
  • A focus on numeracy;
  • By 2035, 90% of pupils should be able to read for meaning at 10 years old.


  • Food security is a vital purpose of the universal basic income proposal, calculated based on the food poverty line after the supply policy.

Global policy

  • ActionSA says foreign direct investment is necessary for growing the economy. Its international policy is guided by the need to attract investment.


  • Reduce the size of the Cabinet to about 20 ministries, remove all deputy ministers, reduce perks. (The current Cabinet has 32 members and there are 38 deputy ministers.) Maintain the public service wage bill at 10% of GDP;
  • Ban cadre deployment;
  • Decentralise service delivery.


  • Fix the public healthcare system by eliminating corruption and improving management to reduce administrative costs to 10% of the total budget;
  • Invest in primary healthcare;
  • Make medical aid more accessible, expand minimum benefits and improve oversight of price gouging;
  • Appoint more doctors, registrars, and so on.


  • Voluntary national service for young South Africans from the age of 18;
  • Relax labour laws to make it easier to fire non-performing workers;
  • Reduce minimum wage laws, especially for new entrants – link this to the upper-bound poverty line;
  • Economic reforms are calculated to have an employment stimulus impact of 4.8 million jobs by 2029.

Land and housing

  • Reclaim hijacked and abandoned city buildings to be developed by the private sector as mixed-use residential and small business spaces;
  • Transfer unused arable land to emerging farmers under long-term leases, with an opportunity to buy after five years if operations are successful.


  • ActionSA’s manifesto condemns xenophobia, and wants to make it easier to enter South Africa legally and more difficult to do so illegally;
  • The manifesto says: “We want the people of the world to come to South Africa, but they must do so by following our laws”;
  • Improve the deportation of foreigners found guilty of committing crimes in South Africa, or of people living in the country illegally.

Power cuts

  • Expand private energy production and run a liberalised energy market;
  • Introduce microgrids – small, localised energy grids.

Reality check

  • It’s a good manifesto. We like the promise to cut the Cabinet to about 20 ministries, and to scrap deputy ministers;
  • Mashaba’s challenge will be to stay non-populist about migration, when he has previously made anti-foreigner jibes a leitmotif of his political journey.

What’s good

  • As the ANC’s practice in terms of its own leadership and who it appoints to govern has eschewed the principle of non-racialism, ActionSA wants to fill the gap;
  • It takes a principled position on the clear correlation between race and socioeconomic standing, but stands for non-racialism as a core principle. DM


Read more in Daily Maverick: 2024 elections

This story first appeared in our weekly Daily Maverick 168 newspaper, which is available countrywide for R29.


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Johan Buys says:

    Cheap shot on the universal income grant unless can show how it is funded.

    Why on earth can’t the opposition parties to the saner side of ANC unite under one party? There is this coalition thing but that is not legally combined.

    Take the manifestos like set out in article, put them on one spreadsheet and the differences are minor.

    Too many egos in the room?

    • Denise Smit says:

      Agree 100%, all this divisions and infighting is playing in the hands of the ANC EFF MK party. Can you not see this is divide and rule tactics?

  • Gretha Erasmus says:

    Good manifesto. The trick will be for ActionSA to convince the ANC disgruntled that ActionSA is a much much much better alternative than the communist/tribalist MKP whose manifesto spells only doom

    • Kenneth FAKUDE says:

      Multiparty coalition the safe way to go if positions handled correctly, the funding here is not clear and promises too good to be true.

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted


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