Mr Zakhele Mbhele (DA)

Oct. 3, 2016 (2 years, 11 months ago)


What is your Political background? I have been involved in the Democratic Alliance (DA) for as long as I have been active in politics. I started getting involved in politics in late 2005 where I was a candidate contesting for the Student Representative Council (SRC) at Wits University under a DA affiliated banner. I also started getting involved in the youth structures of the DA. I served as a Media Liaison Officer for Western Cape Premier, Ms Helen Zille from November 2011 to May 2014. I was then elected to the National Assembly (NA) in 2014 and am currently serving in the Portfolio Committee on Police.

What does my job as MP involve in detailed? Attending portfolio committees and conducting oversight over the work of the departments and the Executive. I submit parliamentary questions to get information from the Minister and I conduct my own personal oversight visits to government facilities and entities that are relevant to my portfolio committee. I have regular interaction with people in my constituency to address their main issues in Parliament.

What is your impression of the Fifth Parliament? The Fifth Parliament has been very interesting as it is someway different to how I expected Parliament to be. I think Parliament has never been in the public eye or had the public attention it has now and this is a good thing. It is good for citizens to be aware of Parliament and to know what is generally happening in Parliament even though some of the things that are happening in Parliament at the moment are not ideal. The Fifth Parliament is very lively and there is hardly a boring day.

Where is your constituency? What has been most interesting about constituency work? My constituency is different from how most MPs are assigned to their constituencies in a sense that the DA is piloting having democratic constituencies that are focusing on the student sector. The DA in the Western Cape has created a constituency called Democratic Alliance Student Organisation (DASO). I work on supervising, guarding and assisting our DASO branches at all the tertiary institutions, including building new structures where we do not have them. I was moved to the DASO constituency in July 2015 and before that I was in a normal geographical constituency. The DASO constituency is a more natural fit for me as a young MP. I am also able to relate better with students and young adults in general. I also have some experience of campus politics from my time at Wits University and this makes me more familiar and appropriate to be a political head in that context. before.

What are you passionate about? This applies both in a political/professional and personal? My two main passions are entrepreneurship and youth development. These two are linked, because growing youth entrepreneurship is a key part of youth development. Young people should be given an opportunity to create livelihood and economic opportunities for themselves. I was motivated to join politics because I could see that our governance and service delivery in many communities were hampering access to development opportunities and entrepreneurship.

I believe we need to fix our governance by improving accountability and growing the opposition parties to strengthen accountability I am involved in the mentorship of young people and this is one of my contributions to youth development. I have a small company that I run as I believe that it is important for as many people as possible to be entrepreneurs, even if this is on a part-time level.

What would your message to South Africans be? It is important to know your passion and discern your vocation. It is important to ask yourself if who you are and whether what you truly want in your life is supported or being undermined by your voting choice. It is one thing for a person to have an emotional attachment to one party or another and a different story to ask yourself objectively if things are going in the right direction.

I have always wanted to live in a successful country with a growing economy where my kids would be able to access quality education. However, I could not see this happening under the governance of the African National Congress (ANC). It became clear that there were so many things that were undermining the prospect of a prosperous South Africa and this included corruption and the fact that the country was not moving as fast as it could possibly be in terms of development.

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