NAREND SINGH was born on 5 September 1954 in Umkomaas, KwaZulu-Natal. This IFP member is married with two children and has two grandchildren.
Political Background: I completed my primary and secondary education at the Umkomaas Drift Primary and Naidoo Memorial School respectively. In 1971, I proceeded to the University of Durban-Westville and studied towards a Bachelor of Commerce degree. In 1974, I left the University to pursue a career in a family run business. I then completed a postgraduate diploma in Economic Principles, a 2-year postgraduate diploma through the University of London in 1997. I have served on many social, cultural, civic and sports organisations. I am currently completing my final module towards a Masters Degree in Public Policy and Management through the University of London.
My political involvement started at a very early age, first as an activist at secondary school and then at the University of Durban Westville. I participated in many boycotts and organisations that opposed apartheid. In 1993, I joined the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), and am currently the Treasurer General of the Party. In 1994, I was appointed a Senator in the first Senate of the Republic of South Africa. I was a Whip of the party in the Senate. In 1996, I was recalled by the IFP to the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature, serving first as the Leader of Government Business and later as MEC in various portfolios from April 1997 to March 2006. Since August 2007, to date, I am a Member of the National Assembly in Cape Town.
What does my job involve? I became a Member of Parliament because I have always had the passion and desire to serve the interest of the broader community by making meaningful interventions in legislative and administrative matters. The Inkatha Freedom Party was, for me, the ideal vehicle to achieve these objectives, as I had and continue to have great admiration and respect for its leader, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi and the policies he espouses.
I have served in the National Assembly since August 2007 on the Standing Committees of Finance, Auditor General and Appropriations and on the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa).
The challenges I encounter include not receiving appropriate and timeous responses from municipal, provincial and national administrations and their respective executive office bearers to queries that are raised. Members of the ruling party tend not to provide responses to public concerns if members of the opposition raise them. I have examples, where for over six years, concerns about road safety, policing etc have not received responses from executive office bearers. I have learned that one has to be persistent in taking up issues of incompetence, maladministration, wasteful and fruitless expenditure and the incapacity of many in the public service to live up to the calling of being public servants.
Parliament is meant to be an institution where there is an expression of the voice and will of the people. The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa makes ample reference to the role and function of Parliament. The institution does to a large extent, meet this constitutional obligation, yet more can be done to allow civil society to play a meaningful role in committees and through public participation processes. It is a weakness that inadequate time and resources are allocated to members to be able to fulfil their obligations in the community. The inadequate role that Parliament plays in the oversight of the Executive is an area that needs to be looked at, going forward. The very recent role of Parliament influencing the Budget process is to be welcomed. However, a great deal of work needs to be done for Parliament to make a meaningful contribution to the drafting of the budget. Its oversight role has to be taken seriously, without fear or favour.
Highlights of Parliament: My biggest highlight was when, we, as the collective in Parliament adopted the new constitution of South Africa in 1996. This for me was a turning point in the history of South Africa under which post apartheid South Africa would function. Another highlight was serving under four different presidents, Mandela, Mbeki, Motlanthe and Zuma. I have always considered the repeal of obnoxious and discriminatory laws to be very important. Being someone involved in the finance arena, I believe the establishment of the Budget Office to offer advice to Parliamentarians on issues of budget of departments will also go down as a highlight.
Highlights of my constituency work: My constituency is in Port Shepstone and its surrounds in the Ugu District in KwaZulu-Natal. However, being a member of a party that has limited members in the National Assembly makes one's work extend far beyond the allocated constituency. Any action that contributes to solving problems for people is particularly uplifting. They can range from ensuring social welfare payments, resolving problems in the educational sector at any given school, helping people with obtaining identity documents and passports timeously, and listening to people’s trials and tribulations. I have learned that many people just want an avenue to share their frustrations with you. What has been uplifting has been working on youth and women empowerment projects.
I am passionate about being able to make a difference through interventions in portfolio committees focusing on legislative amendments, and being able to interrogate findings of the Auditor-General and root out corruption. I am also passionate about service delivery and ensuring that civil servants and the Executive are held fully accountable for their actions or inaction.
My message to readers is: The ruling party waxes lyrical about its many service delivery achievements. They must start to realise that it is taxpayers’ resources, which they have been entrusted with to ensure optimum, timeous, and efficient service delivery. Taxpayers, I believe, cannot feel proud of how their hard earned tax contributions are spent. I would appreciate it if readers would raise particular concerns with me if they believe there are areas in which I could be of assistance.
For more information about Mr Singh, visit his profile.
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