Political background: I went to Grade 1 in 1994, which was a highly politicised time, and I was exposed to and grew up with the values, vision and principles of the ANC, and later the Constitution that the party helped negotiate. I have always been surrounded by politics in one way or another. I was active in ANC Youth League politics and structures at the University of Pretoria, and later joined the Congress of the People with its clarion call of defending the Constitution. I remained with COPE for three years, and I served as National Spokesperson for the COPE Youth Movement when I resigned.
In 2011 I joined the DA, a party that has consistently upheld and promoted the principles, spirit and values as embodied in the Constitution and has a clear track record of delivery where the DA is in government. Our party’s commitment to a society in which every individual has access to the opportunities to improve their lives and live the life they value is what really drew me to the DA. I worked for the DA as Parliamentary Research and Communications Officer and later as Director of Communications and Research in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature. I then applied to become a Member of Parliament and was elected in 2014.
What does your job as an MP entail? I think a lot of people underestimate the responsibilities of a Member of Parliament. Prior to my election I also had a very limited view of an MP’s job. I really enjoy the job exactly because it is so multifaceted. The sittings of the National Assembly constitute a very small part of our actual responsibilities. The bulk of our time in Parliament is spent with committee work. I serve on the Justice and Correctional Services Portfolio Committee. We process a lot of legislation and perform oversight over two departments and a number of entities, including the Public Protector and Human Rights Commission.
Constituency work is also a big part of being an MP, and that is how we ensure that the people who voted for us have a voice in Parliament. Through constituency visits and community engagement, we bring constituency issues into Parliament. Finally, commitments in terms of party political work also constitute a significant component of an MP’s job. In my case this is even more important as one of the DA’s National Spokesperson. It is also worth mentioning that a lot of an MP’s time is spent commuting between your home, constituency and Parliament in Cape Town. I spend at least 10 hours a week traveling to and from Cape Town, and then at least two hours a day, Tuesday to Thursday, to Parliament and back.
What are you looking forward to in this Fifth Parliament as a new MP? The Fifth Parliament will play a key role in setting the tone for the next twenty years of our democracy. I look forward to vibrant debates and robust engagement in the sittings and committees through which I hope to be one of the young members ensuring the voice, concerns and the interests of the youth are heard in Parliament. While the Fifth Parliament kicked off with a bang – literally and figuratively – I believe it is very important that, while we have robust and dynamic debates and engagement – that Parliament also works for the people who sent us there. Parliament must work for it to hold the government accountable for its delivery and for our nation to work. I hope my first term will be marked by making a difference, and not just making a noise.
What constituency area have you been assigned to by your party? What constituency work have you been involved with or how have you helped members of the public so far? What aspects interest you the most about constituency work? My constituency is Mabopane and Winterveldt in Tshwane, Gauteng. I have spent most of the time since my election engaging with members of the communities to understand the issues and challenges of the area, and to introduce myself to them. This year we have started rolling out campaigns around fighting substance abuse and addressing storm water management and seasonal flooding in the area. Constituency work is very challenging when you’re in opposition nationally, provincially (in Gauteng) and locally (in Tshwane). To make a real difference requires tireless lobbying, writing and, where necessary or appropriate, protesting. I love the enthusiasm and excitement of members of the DA and the community in my constituency about the prospect of governing Tshwane next year, and enjoy working with them on making this a reality by engaging the community on the DA’s principles, values and future.
What are you most passionate about? I care deeply about justice, equality and freedom. Not only punitive justice in the traditional sense, but also restorative justice, and more importantly, social justice: justice in terms of the distribution of opportunities in society. I believe it absolutely critical for government and other sectors of society to maximise access to opportunities for all people to access the education, resources and facilities they need to improve their lives and live a life of their choosing and that they value.
What would your message to South Africa be? As a country and as a people we have significant challenges, but we also have incredible potential and amazing opportunities to address the legacy of a divided and painful past and build a country in which every person has access to opportunities to receive an education, get a job and get ahead in life. It is critical that we all – across all sectors of society – join in partnerships to make this kind of progress possible. Voting once every five years is not enough, we must continuously engage one another in everyday life to ensure political representatives are accountable and responsive; that civil society remains active; and that business contributes to a sustainable future.
For more information about this MP, visit his profile.
Keep comments free of racism, sexism, homophobia and abusive language. People's Assembly reserves the right to delete and edit comments
(For newest comments first please choose 'Newest' from the 'Sort by' dropdown below.)
(For newest comments first please choose 'Newest' from the 'Discussion' tab below.)