What is your political background? I worked for 22 years initiating and working within local, provincial and national ACDP party structures. I have been a Member of Parliament for 17 years serving in the National Assembly. I have previously served as a member of the portfolio committees on trade and industry; minerals and energy; public enterprises; higher and basic education; health and women in the presidency. I am presently serving on International Relations, Social Development and PGIR (Parliamentary International Relations) in the SA/EU focus group.
What does your job as MP entail? Most of our time is spent working in portfolio committees - in preparation for meetings, attending briefings by departments and other public entities, interrogating departmental budgets annual reports & strategic plans, working on new legislation and legislative amendments, participating in public hearings and oversight visits to public facilities & departments throughout all provinces.
As an MP I can attend any portfolio committee when I need to pay closer attention to legislation or other matters being dealt with there. For example I have recently spent time in the labour committee as they were considering a private member’s proposal I made regarding paternity and adoption leave - this is the first opposition party private members bill to have passed to the stage where it will be officially considered for adoption after a full public process. Plenaries offer opportunities for debates, questions to the President, Deputy President and Ministers, statements and motions. These require much research and work on drafts in preparation. They also require many long hours sitting in plenaries.
[*Note: History was made in Parliament on Tuesday, 28 November 2017, when the first private member's bill, the Labour Laws Amendment Bill, proposed by Cheryllyn Dudley was passed by the National Assembly.]
What is your impression of the fifth parliament so far? The Fourth Parliament opened up much greater opportunity for effective oversight by Members of Parliament, but the Fifth Parliament has been hijacked by certain parties constantly vying for media attention and the EFF's relentless attempts to destabilise Parliament at every turn. Although a majority of Members have managed to get the work done it has been frustrating and challenging.
Where is your constituency? What has been most interesting about constituency work so far? My constituency is the whole of South Africa as the ACDP has three MPs and our votes are spread throughout the country. Officially my present constituency is Mpumalanga where I have a constituency office in Siyabuswa, but I work in many provinces. Every province is unique and everything about my constituency work is interesting. Constituency work in my office and around the country is varied and includes access to education, home affairs documentation, and many health and social issues.
What are you passionate about? This applies both in a political/professional and personal context? I am passionate about nation building and the realisation of a shared future for all who live in South Africa. I am passionate about developing a hunger and talent for entrepreneurial activity and social justice in communities and individuals. I am passionate about international relations which impact us all in terms of global peace (or lack of it) and trade relations. I am passionate about the people of South Africa and work to promote maximum freedom for people to choose especially with regard to freedom of religion and belief. I have championed the rights of pre-born children and fathers alongside the rights of women.
I am passionate about being a wife, a mother and a grandmother - I have four children and three grandchildren. It is my Christian convictions that have inspired my passions and motivated me to do my best and to lead where I can by example. I therefore identify completely with Madiba's passion for reconciliation and forgiveness and I want to be a positive influence in promoting greater equality, dignity and respect throughout our nation.
What is your message to South Africans? We have no future unless it is a shared future. It is in our own interests to work to help others achieve their goals and to provide for their families. It is in our own interests to build and not to destroy, to forgive and not to hate, and to be sensitive and gracious in the face of other people's pain and hurt. These are things often easier said than done but we have proven on occasion that we are up to the challenge - we can do it if we choose to!
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