What is your political background and how did you come to join the ANC?
At Lovedale College (Eastern Cape), where I did my teacher training, I was elected into the Student Representative Council (SRC). I then began to be aware of the political issues affecting not only education but South African society as a whole. After qualifying as a teacher I got a post at Naledi High school in Soweto. This was when the 1976 student riots began and naturally, I became involved in the political activity that accompanied that period, including ANC related underground work. In fact, it was at Naledi High, on June 8 1976, that the first conflict between students and the police took place.
In 1995 I was elected to be a ward councillor of Moletjie Matlala Transitional Local Council (TLC) which was responsible for 17 villages at that time. In 2001 I was elected the mayor of Aganang Local Municipality and I remained the mayor for 10 years. In 2006 government policy mandated that a mayor had to become a full time employee
In May 2014 I entered Parliament as an ANC deployee.
What does your job as an MP entail? I belong to both the Tourism and Public Works Portfolio Committees. On Tuesdays, I usually attend Public Works Committee meetings. I also attend the plenary sessions of the National Assembly when they take place. On Thursday mornings I attend the ANC provincial/national caucus. On Fridays I am busy with Tourism Committee and Study Group meetings. On Mondays I am in my constituency.
What constituency area have you been assigned to you by your party and what have been the highlights of the work? The area is called Mokgalakwena in the Waterberg region of Limpopo. Before that I was in Vhembe where I was involved in education such as back-to-school campaigns We identified many shortcomings in the sector which led me to develop a school shoes project where I distributed 80 pairs of shoes to learners.
What are you finding most challenging about the Fifth Parliament? It has been a vibrant Parliament to me. It kept all of on our toes in terms of our own role in Parliament. A major challenge for me is that there is not enough time for us to do constituency work.
Do you think Parliament does a good job of holding the executive branch of government accountable? If not, how can this be improved? Yes, I think we are doing it. But as I said before, MP’s don't have enough time to strike a balance between their constituency work and performing parliamentary oversight on the Executive.
Are you happy with the proportional representation system or are you in favour of electoral reform? I am happy with it as it is, because everybody is deployed and accountable to organisations. Otherwise everybody would do as they wished. I think so far I am comfortable with the system.
Is Parliament’s public participation model adequate or robust enough in the run-up to the passing of legislation? Yes, but more could be done. Again it comes down to MPs being more available for constituency work. During public hearings, MPs could play a key role in ensuring that regions with vast areas are made accessible, or residents in those areas are assisted in order to participate in these very important platforms.
What are you passionate about? This applies both politically/professionally as well as personally. Education is my lifelong passion, especially the girl child. My father used to say to me, “your first husband is your career”. This allows women to be more independent and equips them to better take care of their families. Even now at my age I’m still studying.
What would your message to South Africa be? A lot has been done. And I know we still need to do more, but 20 years of democracy cannot be compared with 300-plus years of suffering. I remember very well that before 1994 in the villages I come from, as women we built our own schools by carrying sand from river banks and water to where the structures have been upgraded now. The current structures are of brick and mortar and were upgraded without residents paying a cent. Water has been tapped in the rural areas I come from and we are no longer required to fetch it from the river 5 kilometres away. These are just some of the conditions the ANC has improved and therefore the ANC should be given another term to continue its good work in providing services to South Africa.
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