Political background: In the first Local Government elections held in December 2001, as a member of the IFP, I was democratically elected as a ward councillor and the Deputy Mayor of Umtshezi. Later in 2001, I was elected as the Mayor. In 2004, the ANC took control of the municipality and I was ousted from the position of Mayor and became an ordinary councillor. I continued working hard as a chairperson for the IFP and in the 2006 Local Government elections, I regained the municipality from the ANC and was re-elected as the Mayor. The division in the IFP resulted in the formation of the NFP, which was officially launched in February 2011. In 2011, the NFP deployed me to the position of Deputy Mayor in Uthukela municipality in KwaZulu-Natal. I was elected the National Chairperson of the NFP in December 2011. In 2014, we contested the national and provincial elections and won six seats in Parliament and six seats in the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Legislature.
What are you looking forward to as a new MP? I am looking forward to seeing all parliamentarians obeying and upholding our Constitution and enforcing the fact that no one is above the law. I am looking forward to parliamentarians that are accountable, a Parliament that will enforce the rooting out of corrupted members and officials irrespective of their political affiliation and a government that will maximize the protection of all our Chapter 9 institutions. I am looking forward to a Parliament with an impartial Speaker when dealing with government matters. Lastly, I am looking forward to a government that provides jobs, access to basic services, access to health care, access to adequate housing, equal treatment for all, sustainable infrastructure, fairly distributed land and selfless public representatives.
What does your job as an MP entail? My job as a public representative can be very challenging considering the number of responsibilities. In Parliament we have 32 Portfolio Committees and because of the number seats we obtained, it makes it difficult for the NFP to have meaningful contributions in all Portfolio Committees. Time allocation for debating issues is three minutes and it restricts us from making extensive inputs and contributions to the sitting of Parliament in terms of the functioning of government to ensure and accountability. The party funding from IEC and Parliament is too small to establish effective party offices throughout the country to service the people and strengthen our network in all districts and metros. The sittings of Committees have clashing dates and times and it makes it difficult to be in two places at the same time.
What are you looking forward to in engaging in constituency work? Constituency work is crucially important, because it compels MPs to account to the electorate. Sometimes it is also difficult, because of the challenges of unemployment, inadequate access to housing, health care facilities, basic services, education and those who have no basic income to afford food. One must accept such challenges, because it allows constituency residents to engage with me as their public representative to make South Africa the best country to live in.
I am passionate about seeing the NFP becoming the best choice for South Africans and to be given an opportunity to govern this country.
My message to South Africa is South Africans must maximise use of their democratic rights to engage in the matters of government. They should attend public hearings and must know if government is not fulfilling its promises in its term of five years. They have the right to vote for another government. Let us all imagine a government that promotes social cohesion and the non-abuse of women, children and the elderly; a government free of corruption, a well educated society and sustainable and decent jobs.
For more information about Mr Shelembe, click here.
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