"Libertarian Herman Mashaba elected mayor of Johannesburg"
Herman Mashaba is a millionaire tycoon, an ideological libertarian and self-proclaimed “capitalist crusader” who lectures his listeners about the evils of big government and minimum wage.
He is also, shockingly, the newly elected mayor of South Africa’s biggest city. That’s a revolutionary phenomenon in a nation dominated for 22 years by a left-wing ruling party, whose cabinet ministers tend to be communists and union leaders.
Less than a month after winning office as Johannesburg’s mayor, Mr. Mashaba is already energetically putting his free-market ideas into action. He is distributing thousands of title deeds to impoverished residents, trying to create a new class of landowners. He is plotting with private developers to turn the city into a vast construction site, and he is pledging to use small businesses to slash the unemployment rate.
“My job is on the line,” he says, inviting voters to defeat him in the next election if he fails to reduce the city’s jobless rate from its current 31 per cent to below 20 per cent.
Mr. Mashaba is probably the only avowed libertarian to become mayor of a major African city. He’s even more of a free-market fundamentalist than his political party, the Democratic Alliance. The DA supports a minimum wage, for example, while Mr. Mashaba scathingly denounces it as “an evil system to deprive poor uneducated people of the opportunity to advance.”
His highest value, he says, is “individual freedom.” He rails against the “culture of dependency” and excessive regulation in South Africa. “I’m just asking the government to leave us alone,” he says. . . .