Ms Sibongile Mchunu - ANC


How did you become involved in politics and particularly, what drew you to your specific party?

I got involved in politics in 1995 at university through being active in the South African Students Congress (SASCO). Every citizen was affected by the politics of the time in South Africa . Outside of the learning environment, I was drawn to politics through the activities of Msizi Dube, a Lamontville-based activist and anti-poverty campaigner.

What does your job as an MP entail?

My job as a Member of the Portfolio Committee on Higher Education involves holding the Department of Higher Education and Training with its entities accountable for expenditure of the budget it receives from National Treasury. This is done through quarterly reports, strategic plans and Annual Performance Plans which has to be tabled to the committee by the departments. Over and above, we also give input and make the final decisions on policy work where both bills and policy documents have to be tabled and engaged on by the department and committee.

What are your thoughts about the Fifth Parliament so far?

The Fifth Parliament has been quite effective so far. I have become quite enlightened about committee work, because I originally only knew parliament through the broadcasted sitting of the National Assembly. Budgeting for departments has been especially empowering for me, because I got to understand how money was planned for and the execution of strategic plans.

What constituency area has your party assigned you to? What aspects interest you the most about constituency work?

I am assigned to the Estcourt constituency under the Imbabazane Local Municipality in KwaZulu-Natal. As Members of Parliament (MPs), we get allocated a constituency office by our respective parties where ideally it’s a work space close to home or in the region where you originate from. However; when multiple MPs come from one region they would then be allocated offices in other provinces to ensure equal distribution and also ensuring the party has a footprint in all the provinces.

Constituency days are on Mondays and MPs are expected to have outreach programmes with the communities where the constituency offices are situated. The work involves assisting with social grant applications, applications for replacement identity documents (IDs); and skills development programmes like having a group of mothers from one community who know how to make fabric softener to go teach others the skill of making and selling the softener.

Additionally, MPs also work with Members of Executive Councils (MECs) on departmental programmes that are provincially driven. The ANC has a ‘back to school’ programme where MPs visit schools mainly in rural and peri-urban areas to identify challenges and to see how the party can assist. A card carrying member is not only about attending meetings as one gets conscientised about the politics of Africa and the SADC region in general.

What are you most passionate about - this applies both in a political/professional arena as well as personally?

As a teacher by qualification, I am very passionate about quality education and sharing that education with South African citizens.

What would your message to South Africa be?

South Africans should give the ANC another opportunity to govern because it is the only liberation movement that is still committed to addressing the socio-economic challenges of South African citizens. It is also the only movement that has restored dignity and hope to the masses of SA.

To learn more about this Member, see her profile here.


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