Herman Mashaba’s last week as mayor: privilege, lessons and a final send-off

28 November 2019 - 11:34 By Unathi Nkanjeni
Herman Mashaba finished his stint as mayor of Johannesburg this week.
Herman Mashaba finished his stint as mayor of Johannesburg this week.
Image: Simphiwe Nkwali

On Wednesday, Herman Mashaba bid farewell as mayor of Johannesburg.

Mashaba resigned last month after three years in office. He announced his resignation after the election of Helen Zille as the DA's federal executive council chairperson.

In his last week, here's what he had to say:


Mashaba attributed his success as a businessman and politician to privilege.

On Tuesday, Mashaba said his success in business gave him access to a life the majority of poor black people were deprived of.

“Becoming a mayor and being directly confronted by the lived reality of these fellow citizens of my city on a daily basis shook me to the core. They say I changed, I say a lot changed me,” said Mashaba.

Biggest achievement

Mashaba told 702 that his biggest achievement during his three-year tenure was to leave the city in good financial standing.

“I am leaving the city with the best financial position, confirmed by the National Treasury two weeks ago, and by Moody’s in terms of the improvement in our financial position,” he said.

Mashaba also expressed joy about the insourcing of thousands of workers and the recruitment of police officers.


He described his job as painful but rewarding.

Mashaba said in the past three years, he had to take sleeping tablets, because the job was tough.

“For you to be able to do your job, you are going to need political support, political support that does not really interfere with the work that you do. They have got to allow you to operate within the law,” he told members of the Joburg Metro Police.

Getting rid of selfish colleagues

During his time as mayor, Mashaba said, he focused on combating corruption in the region and creating a professional service to the public.

On Wednesday, he said he had inherited a region where favours were common and corruption was widespread.

“I managed to get rid of comrades who were in the city to serve themselves and their political parties, instead of society.”

Final goodbye

In a video posted on Twitter, Mashaba highlighted the “key successes” he achieved as mayor.

He also thanked Johannesburg residents for their support.

“I would like to thank Johannesburg residents from the bottom of my heart. Serving you has been the greatest privilege of my life”, said Mashaba.

This is what tweeps had to say:

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