What is your political background? How did you come to join your political party and become a MP? I started in 1996 in student politics at UWC as a SASCO member of the SRC. In 2015 was I approached by the DA ward councillor to join the party. I started as an activist for the DA as the branch secretary for ward 19 in Buffalo City Municipality and as the Democratic Alliance Women Network representative for DA Buffalo City coastal constituency. I also co-founded a women support group in 2015 to assist women with socio-economic challenges. I became a PR councillor from July 2015 in the finance portfolio and resigned as a councillor in October 2016. In November 2016 I became a Member of Parliament representing the DA in the science and technology portfolio.
What does your job as a MP entail? I am a member of the Portfolio Committee on Science and Technology and therefore I read up mostly on research articles and related news pertaining to my portfolio at least twice a week to keep up to date with latest developments. Mondays are constituency time and I usually have a telecom with the constituency chairperson and constituency office manager to prepare for the week and to get an update on the constituency matters when not in the constituency. Tuesday mornings I am busy with constituency administration and I meet with relevant stakeholders and the afternoons I spend in plenary. My portfolio meets on Wednesday mornings and I attend plenary in the afternoons. Thursdays are for caucus meetings and plenary and on Fridays I travel to my constituency. On Saturdays I meet with constituency executive and councillors and conduct oversight visits around the constituency and attend public meetings with communities.
What are you finding most challenging about the Fifth Parliament? None yet - I am finding a balance between parliamentary work and constituency work.
What obstacles prevent Parliament from doing its work and how would you fix it? The rules not being adequately applied and abuse of NA rules with frivolous points of orders. The Executive is not responsive to questions raised by Members, and the bureaucratic process and Bills before Parliament not passed within reasonable time are more obstacles.
The Speaker should apply the rules fairly and without bias in the NA and should be held accountable for their actions when presiding. Order papers should be restructured to ensure that motions and member statements are at top of the order paper, allowing Ministers to be present when statements are read to respond adequately. Timeframes should be given for bills before Parliament to be completed. As legislators we should ensure that legislations are passed in due time to ensure effective operations of government.
Which constituency office have you been assigned to? Can you give examples of constituency work you engaged in? Phesheya Kwenciba constituency – Mnquma, Mbashe, KSD, Port St Johns, Nyandeni, Mhlontlo and Ngquza Hill municipalities.
I do public meetings to listen to the concerns of the communities and also hold feedback meetings; including door to door, house meetings, visits to schools, hospitals, clinics, police stations, checking on housing, water and sanitation and road issues. I also meet with Chiefs and their constituencies to discuss the DA’s vision and policies. I use radio interviews to Radio interview to address challenges as well as providing solutions to these challenges.
Does Parliament do a good job in holding the Executive to account? If not, what can be done to improve this? No. The Executive fail to account for their failures on a regular basis. Regular oversight should be conducted over Ministers and if found to default, should be hold accountable (disciplinary and the criminal justice system should be utilised). Ministers must account to Parliament when asked to do so.
Are you happy with the proportional representation system or are you in favour of electoral reform? The PR system ensures that all parties are represented according to the votes received during elections. Political parties choose who will represent the parties in national and provincial governments. This means that public representatives in this regard is actually more accountable to the political party they represent.
I prefer electoral reform. A mixed system (electoral reform) would ensure that voters vote for their direct representative and also who should govern in general. This will give greater accountability of public representatives to their constituencies who voted for them to represent them in Parliament.
Is Parliament’s public participation model adequate/robust enough that it affords enough public participation before a law is passed? It’s fairly adequate. Public and interest groups are afforded the opportunity to engage and interact on laws before its passed. Submissions received is dealt with to ensure that the law represent all views where relevant and still adhere to the constitution.
What are you passionate about? I am passionate about advancing education and skills development in our country. This is a stepping stone to ensure that every individual in South African have access to proper education so that they have a proper chance to advance and improve themselves.
What is your message to South Africans? Let not our past cloud our judgment to meaningful advancement and progress in our country for our future generation.
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