What is your political background? I joined the struggle at an early age. I was age 10 years old when I first attended a community meeting to discuss a rent and bus boycott in 1980 in the township of Umlazi in the south of Durban. As one of the youngest activists, my role was to pass information between sections of the township. Organising protest action during those days meant life and death and the community was fighting back every day against security agents and riot police.
My early days also involved serving in all the protest campaigns of the Umlazi Youth League and the Umlazi Civic Association. I attended the launch of the United Democratic Front (UDF) in Cape Town, Mitchells Plain in 1983 when I was thirteen years old.
Currently I am part of the EFF’s core founding leadership, because I have been there from day one when the movement started in June 2013, through the 17 policy meetings to the first National Assembly in December 2014. We are spirited by our desire to fight for total economic emancipation of poor and working class South Africans.
What does my job as an MP entail? As an MP in the National Assembly, my work involves representing poor and working class South Africans. My primary portfolio is the Portfolio Committee on Higher Education and Training and I also serve on the Economic Development Committee. I am very experienced in both portfolio committees.
What is your impression of the Fifth Parliament so far? Parliament is a very colonial institution; I am shocked that so many years into our democracy very little has actually changed. The current parliament represents the rich elite pack and is anti-black.
What constituency area have you been assigned to you by your party? What is most interesting about your constituency work so far? I am assigned to the Pietermaritzburg area. We are a popular mass movement focusing on community struggles such as lack of services, unemployment and economic justice concerns and issues such as the #FeesMustFall movement. I always look forward to community protests and handling corruption complaints against government officials.
What are you most passionate about - this applies both in a political/professional arena as well as personally? I am passionate about free higher education for all and I will continue to fight until this has been achieved.
What would your message to South Africa be? We need to deal with the historical imbalance in economic participation now. The ‘new apartheid’ is the continued economic exclusion of the black majority. This is the real threat to our democracy. The political system is anti-black and perpetuates and promotes a colonial culture and this should stop.
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