Ms Semakaleng Kopane (DA)

Oct. 24, 2016 (2 years, 9 months ago)

kopane

What is your political background? I joined the Democratic Alliance (DA) in 2003 and I always had an interest in politics before even joining the DA. I became a DA councillor for Mangaung in 2006. In 2009 I became a Member of Parliament and I was the spokesperson for the Democratic Alliance for Social Development and then Health under the leadership of Ms Lindiwe Mazibuko. I once again became the spokesperson for Social Development under the leadership of Mr Mmusi Maimane. I have been the leader of DA in the Free State province and this is my second term in the position. I was the first black African women to be the councillor in Mangaung, to represent the DA from the Free State.

I enjoy politics because I want to bring about change in people’s lives and this perhaps stems from the fact that I am a professional nurse and I know a lot about caring for other people. I am a member of the DA Federal Council and I serve in the Legal Council of the organisation which is helpful in providing legal background to those in leadership.

What does my job as an MP enatil? I serve in the Portfolio Committee on Public Works and my responsibility is to perform oversight over the Department of Public Works and make sure that everything is in order. It is impossible to perform oversight over a particular department without knowing the legal prescripts or Acts which govern each department. A Member of Parliament should be prepared to read the documents that are provided by the Executive to scrutinise all the information. It is also my responsibility to ensure that the Strategic Plan and budget allocation of the Department is able to meet the needs on the ground.

We conduct unannounced visits around the country to check if the entities that are under my portfolio execute their legislative mandate. Members of Parliament are also responsible for introducing and amending existing legislation. In essence, the job of being an MP is to represent South Africans and to make sure that taxpayers’ money are able to serve their interests.

What is your impression of the Fifth Parliament so far? The Fourth Parliament had matured people and everything was about serving the interests of South Africans rather than political affiliation. There was a robust debate in the previous Parliament but this was done with dignity. Debates in the Fifth Parliament are also robust but there is lack of integrity. Members of Parliament should be dealing with real issues that are affecting the majority of South Africans like poverty and unemployment instead of behaving like kids yelling and screaming at each other.

Where is your constituency? What is most interesting about your constituency work so far? I am provincial leader of the DA in the Free State province and therefore I am responsible for overseeing the entire province. I sit down with my provincial caucus from Friday to Saturday and I visit different towns in the Free State. It is unfortunate that unemployment in the province is currently sitting at 32.2% - highest unemployment in the country. It was also worrying that the number of school and university dropout rates is also higher in the Free State compared to other provinces.

What are you passionate about? This applies to both political/professional and personal. I am an introvert and I spend my private time with close relatives and friends. I love to watch soccer; I am a Mamelodi Sundowns and Bloemfontein Celtic fan.

What would your message to South Africans be? DA policies are tried and tested. It is evident that unemployment is very low in all municipalities governed by the DA and this clearly shows that we are best in terms of service delivery. The time to vote based on emotional sentiments is gone and people should vote for a party that can bring about change. I strongly believe that the DA is capable of bringing about change to the people of South Africa.

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