How did you get involved in politics and what attracted you to your political party? My involvement in politics started when I was an employee at the then Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services and the segregation of black people prompted me to take a stand against the system, as many did. I was not only active within my workplace, but in the community as well. The conditions that existed at the time drove me to participating in the civic struggles as well as actually becoming a member of the African National Congress (ANC) and the South African Communist Party (SACP). During those times it was difficult not to partake in the fight against oppression. I am grateful for the structures that we founded with the sole purpose of fighting the system, because those structures we able to unite us to fight the system effectively and diligently.
What does your job as an MP entail? Primarily our job is to make laws and amend them. As people may know we had many apartheid laws in the country that needed to be amended or destroyed. Our job is to amend those laws to enable South Africans to be able to fight off the yoke of oppression. That yoke on black people is going to need all the energy and efforts as well as contribution from all the races to ensure that it is lifted.
What is your impression of the Fifth Parliament? A lot is happening in the Fifth Parliament and there has been a lot of progress, especially in terms of lawmaking. We have been able to change a lot of laws that were passed during the apartheid era which oppressed black South Africans. The most important aspect however is the implementation of those laws so that people can use laws to their advantage - laws such as the such as the and the Consumer Protection Act.
Where is your constituency office? What do you find most interesting about constituency work? I have been assigned to the Sephima constituency offices, which is a number of townships based in Soweto, and the constituency office itself is located in Phiri in Soweto.
I realised that our people are eager to participate in the programmes of government, particularly those that are designed to liberate them economically. I have organised numerous workshops in my constituency area to keep people informed and educated on the available programmes designed by government to assist them economically. In addition, to ensure that the population appreciates and understand the departments holistically, in terms of which programmes are designed to help them develop their businesses, and be in position to take advantage of what the departments offer to them, whether as informal traders, as individual citizens or collectives or as business people and be empowered to take off the yoke of poverty.
What are you most passionate about in your personal and professional life? Its not easy to separate my personal life from professional life, because they are intertwined. I will be happy if the plight of the poorest of the poor can be made better and if we can also witness small and informal black-owned businesses become medium-sized businesses and eventually grow into bigger businesses. I am aware that individually it may be too difficult to achieve, hence as the ANC government we always encourage people to form cooperatives so that they can join hands and be able to take on bigger projects and consequently share profits. In this way more people will be able to benefit within the community and be uplifted from poverty stricken conditions. As a collective people are in better positions to negotiate bigger discounts with suppliers and consequently form a value chain of the goods that they sell. They can partner with government to approach the manufacturers of those goods and purchase the goods directly from the manufacturers without mark-up costs and also participate in the production of the goods that they end up selling, even if it is just acquiring knowledge of those goods so that they know and understand the manufacturing process of the goods.
What is your message to South Africans? South Africans must know that we as government appreciate the difficult journey of small businesses and cooperatives, but the ANC government is ready to hold their hands through this journey. The government is ready to contribute financially and to skills development so that small businesses and informal businesses can get the necessary training to be able to graduate into medium-sized businesses. People need to organise themselves accordingly and invite the government to join and work with them.
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