Mr Dennis Ryder (DA)


What is your political background? I was a mini mayor of Bedfordview in 1993. I have always been on committees and assisting in elections. I was then elected as a councillor in 2011 in Midvaal Local Municipality. I was a member of the Mayoral Committee: Engineering Services in Midvaal and I also served as a Chief Whip for three years from 2011 to May 2014. I was then elected as a Deputy Mayor of Midvaal Local Municipality.

What does your job as an MP entail? The job of an MP has different components and the one that everyone is aware of and sees is the role that we play in Parliament where we attend committees that we are assigned to. We have oversight over the executive arm of government. The main focus of the public is on parliamentary sittings although this is not where the real work is done; the real work is done in committee meetings. As an MP, I also have a big responsibility as I have constituencies in Midvaal and Lesedi. I have a role as a public representative to the people in those areas by coordinating political activities and making myself accessible to them. I serve in the Portfolio Committee on Public Works and I am also an alternative member in the Portfolio Committee on Public Service and Administration.

Do you think Parliament is playing an effective role in holding the Executive to account? If not, what could be done? I think that Parliament does the best that it can. The ability of Parliament to hold the Executive to account is limited by the fact that Ministers often choose not to attend meetings and not to present themselves in Parliament for questioning and this responsibility is always abdicated to their deputies. In general, I would say Parliament is doing well. The Executive come here knowing very well that they are going to be held to account and this is usually uncomfortable.

What is your impression of the Fifth Parliament so far? I think the Fifth Parliament has certainly popularised Parliament in the public view. The growth of the opposition parties has played an important role in popularising Parliament including the advent of the EFF. Parliament has become a lot more accessible to a lot of people. Channel 408 on DSTV means people can tune in and actually get involved and become part of the process. I think this has also helped in getting people to understand the process of Parliament. People now realise that there are committees where the real work is done and it not just people sitting in the Chamber.

Being part of the Fifth Parliament is a massive opportunity and a big honour and a big responsibility as well. It is long hours and most Members of Parliament are humble people. The level of intellect in Parliament is also something that has inspired me. The history of Parliament is something you can feel immediately when you walk into these buildings and it is humbling to be part of such rich history.

Where is your constituency? What has been most interesting about your constituency work so far? I already indicated that I have two constituencies, Midvaal Local Municipality and Lesedi Local Municipality, based in the more rural side of Gauteng. The constituencies are located in the most beautiful side of Gauteng and we still have people that care for each other. I am surrounded by wonderful communities that still work on the basis of community as in the olden days. Midvaal is an extremely well run municipality and obviously it got its challenges, but doing well as a small municipality. We also have Lesedi where the DA is an opposition where there are a lot of challenges, including access to running water.

What are you passionate about? This applies both in a political/professional and personal arena? I am passionate about justice. Justice is about ensuring that the right thing happens. You cannot complain unless you get your hands dirty and getting involved. I am passionate about horse-riding and being a good South African. I love beer and my wife brews her own beer.

What is your message to South Africans? We have a fantastic country that is worth fighting for. I think people tend to despair with the decline that is happening in our country, but my message is to keep fighting. We are aware of the key issues as they are not hidden behind closed doors like in many dictatorships in around the world.

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