South Africa should adopt harsh policies against the Zimbabwean government which includes freezing the assets of Zanu-PF leaders in South Africa, the leader of the newly launched Action SA party, Herman Mashaba, has said.
He launched his party virtually on Saturday, outlining the party's manifesto and taking a hard line against illegal immigrants.
Mashaba, who came under fire for his statements as mayor of Johannesburg against foreign nationals, said he was not xenophobic.
He said South Africa could not possibly meet the expectations of citizens of other nations who were here illegally as well.
"We have the right and legal obligation to our citizens to determine who may enter our country and for what reason. These are not only our laws, but the laws of most self-respecting nations in the world. I stand against xenophobia and there is no place for this or any type of hatred in our party or in our country.
"So, let me be clear, we want the people of the world to come to South Africa to work, vacation and invest. But, when people enter South Africa they must meet two very reasonable requirements. Firstly, they must enter our country legally and, secondly, they must obey our laws once here. This should not be negotiable."
Mashaba also focused his speech on the Zimbabwean crisis, saying it was time for a new approach.
He wants hard diplomacy, suggesting the government adopt the strongest and harshest policies against an oppressive government, while not punishing the people of Zimbabwe.
He said: "This should start by freezing the assets of Zanu-PF leaders in South Africa and banning them from entering our country until there is real reform in that beloved country. We cannot stand for justice, dignity and human rights while ignoring this crisis across our border."
President Cyril Ramaphosa and leaders of SADC have been criticised for failing to act against the Zimbabwean government after journalists and civil society leaders were reportedly jailed.
Feeling the pressure, Ramaphosa sent envoys to engage with the governing party as well as opposition parties in August. The trip was criticised after the two envoys – former speaker Baleka Mbete and Sydney Mufamadi – returned to the country without meeting key stakeholders.
Mashaba also addressed the scourge of gender-based violence in South Africa.
"I am tired of the rights of criminals who kill and rape over and over again been given a stronger voice than the murdered and raped young women who would still be with us today if their murderer were not released from prison. In the interim, we believe that private prosecution is the route to pursue whilst our criminal justice is still captured."
The Action SA leader promised candidates who contested elections would not be chosen in backrooms by the party. He said they would be chosen citizens through a system of direct democracy in the form of primary elections.
Candidates who apply to be public servants, will campaign in their wards, and members will be asked to vote to choose their candidate in a primary held before election day.
"This very same system will be used to performance manage our public representatives. Those who disappoint you will be replaced. Our public representatives must serve you, the people," Mashaba added.