1. How did you come to join your political party and become an MP?
I was born into politics, my grandfathers (maternal and paternal) and mother were political activists. I was the leading and one of the founding members of the Al Jama-ah party 15 years ago. During this time, I served as a councillor in the City of Cape Town until I became a MP. After many years of hard work and canvassing the party finally won a seat in National Parliament. I am the party’s leader and was number one on the party list for the position as MP.
2. What is one goal that you would like to achieve during your time as an MP?
I have a few goals which I really want to see happening during my term as MP. But since you are requesting one goal, that would be for government to recognise the Nikah Ceremony of Muslim marriages. This will alleviate the current challenges Muslim married women, men and their children encounter when a spouse or parent dies; the challenges on inheritance, claim to pension fund, and to erase the insulting registration of “never married” on a death certificate and Muslim children will no longer be registered as illegal.
3. What does your job as an MP entail, and what do you find challenging/demanding?
An MP was voted into parliament by my Constituency and thus take up matters they bring to my attention through the National Constituency offices. As an MP I am the spokesperson for the people of South Africa. I raise matters on local, national, and international interests; deal with concerns about government matters, acts in the interest of the community on decisions government takes. To ensure my Constituency’s voices are heard in Parliament their issues are raised through various channels: debates, motions, submissions, on Portfolio Committee platforms, Members statements, etc. Challenging is being only ONE voice in parliament which becomes demanding as one wants to adequately address matters (all as far as possible) raised by the public and decisions taken by government.
4. Which constituency office have you been assigned to? Can you give examples of constituency work you engage in?
As the only Member of National Parliament, I do oversight at the various Constituency offices of the party. The party has a National Constituency office in Mitchells Plain, virtual Constituency offices in Gauteng and Gqeberha.
Mitchells Plain Constituency Office: Brought the deputy Minister of Small Business Development to the Constituency office to launch the skills training project for promising entrepreneurs. The Deputy Minister’s visit followed my concerns raised at the Portfolio Committee on SBD that small business opportunities are not reaching out to people on the Cape Flats.
In Gauteng a Sanitary Pads dignity pack for schoolgirls was launched. The sanitary towel drive developed into a “Talk to a girl child” programme where we would interact with the girls, conduct talk shows, motivate scholars, supply stationary and take them out to interact.
Mpame Village in the Eastern Cape: got government to commission a fishing vessel to the Mpame Fishing Cooperative. The village is along the coast with a sea enriched with fish. The cooperative lacked a fishing vessel to pursue their fishing business thereby creating jobs.
The MP physically interacts with the community/ies by meeting them in their villages, informal settlements, on the Cape Flats, townships.
Councillors and members of the party are encouraged to host events within the community during Constituency period which the MP attends and interact with the wider community.
During the peak of Covid-19 Al Jama-ah hosted a webinar Women’s Day on which social workers and community activists raised the discriminatory clauses in the Maintenance Act. Al Jama-ah has submitted a Private Members Bill for amendments to clauses which are deemed as discriminatory to women and children.
5. How do you think Parliament can drive more public participation in policy, legislation and voting?
- Do oversight on municipalities who fail to implement and practice fair and wide public participation especially on Wards and budgets.
- More government awareness programmes at school level. To create a proud nation starting from young children at school – they must feel they have a say in the running of the country.
- Listen to the concerns of workers, they are the backbone of the country’s economy. South African workers still feel left out from government policies because of the injustice they endure at workplaces.
6. What are you passionate about, both professionally and personally?
To work towards a digitisation. Rural areas should be empowered with digital transformation.
7. Which social justice issues are you most concerned with?
Lack of safe drinking water; crime, gangsterism and drugs; youth unemployment.
8. Does Parliament do a good job of holding the Executive to account? If not, what can be done to improve this?
No, a good example thereof is the recent corruption within the Water and Sanitation Department. Parliament lacks efficient oversight on monies spent for the purpose budgeted for; independent accountability on projects and that those guilty of gross mismanagement of funds, squandering thereof should appear before a court of law and not eligible to hold any positions in state parastatals.
9. What are your or your party's aspirations/plans for the remainder of the Sixth Parliament?
That a dam be built in the former Transkei which will supply water to one million people; that the two Private Members Bills – Muslim Marriages and Maintenance Act be passed in Parliament; the implementation of a socio-economic response to eradicate gangsterism and crime.
10. What obstacles prevent Parliament from doing its work and how would you fix it?
Disunity amongst the ruling party and corruption. There is a need for full employment for the poorest of the poor. The Labour Relations Act and Basic Conditions should not apply so private sector to allow them to take some responsibilities for full employment. However, a new Poor Labour Act and BCEA (Basic Conditions of Employment Act) should be drafted.
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