Herman Mashaba is an unlikely mayor for South Africa’s largest city. In a country that has been dominated for more than two decades by the left-wing African National Congress (ANC), no one foresaw political victory for a self-declared “capitalist crusader,” property rights zealot, and beauty products mogul who opposes the minimum wage and zoning regulations. Mashaba is an outlier even in his own party, the white-dominated centrist Democratic Alliance (D.A.).
The son of a domestic worker raised by his sisters in a black township near Pretoria under apartheid, Mashaba became a self-made millionaire in a country that systematically excluded blacks from economic opportunities. Sworn into office on August 22, he must wrangle a coalition that includes the revolutionary socialist Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) as he tries to implement an anti-regulation, pro-market agenda.