Ms Tsholofelo Bodlani

How did you come to join your political party and become an MP?

My journey in politics started when I was accepted into the Democratic Alliance Young Leaders Programme in 2007, and I graduated in 2008. My acceptance in into YLP made me realise how important it was for me as a young woman to add my voice to issues that affect our society. DA has been to be the best platform for me. In 2011 the DA gave me an opportunity to stand as a candidate in the Local Government Elections and sadly, I was not elected. In the same year I was sworn in as a Proportional Representative (PR) councillor for the DA in the City of Ekurhuleni. A role I held for 7 years. In 2018 I became a Member of Parliament (MP) till the May 2019 elections. I took my seat as an MP again in March 2021 – to date.

What is one goal that you would like to achieve during your time as an MP?

My biggest goal is to inspire women to enter active politics and to aspire for political office. We can only do this when women feel that politics is a ‘safe space’ for them. It is also my goal to speak for the voiceless and for their voices to be heard especially in our parliament.

What does your job as an MP entail, and what do you find challenging/demanding?

I represent the DA in the portfolio committee of Communications and Digital Technologies. My role in the committee is to ensure that the executive (Minister) accounts on the working of the department. I do this by engaging in robust debates with fellow MPs and going on oversight visits to see for myself what the department reports on. I also lead a team of councillors as a political head for the Alberton constituency in the City of Ekurhuleni. As a political head I am responsible to providing political direction on daily political activities. The biggest challenge is making each and every citizen who reaches out to me feel that the issues they raise matter. It is difficult to address queries because of government red tape and a culture of lack of accountability by officials.

Which constituency office have you been assigned to? Can you give examples of constituency work you engage in?

I am assigned to the Alberton constituency in the City of Ekurhuleni, Gauteng. It is in my constituency that I do most of my political work such as actively recruiting members for the DA, engaging with businesses and other stakeholders to promote the DA. I am also responsible to making sure that councillors are available to serve residents on service delivery related issues. Consistency work also includes having information table to share information about my party and whenever possible about parliament.

How do you think Parliament can drive more public participation in policy, legislation and voting?

The burning down of parliament has placed South Africans who wish to engage with parliament a great disadvantage. Using the existing oversight mechanisms, parliament should endeavour to be more vigorous in taking parliament to the people. Parliament should also improve on the turnaround times on matters such as petitions and answers to questions by MPs. This will assist MPs greatly in communicating to their constituencies and all South Africans on policy matters, voting and legislative processes.

What are you passionate about, both professionally and personally?

I am passionate about the development of young people and women. I believe in the in listening to people and hearing about what keeps them awake at night. I am passionate about helping residents to get value for money for the services they pay for. I am passionate about South Africa.

Which social justice issues are you most concerned with?

Voting rights. I believe South Africans do not really appreciate how powerful their vote is. How the “X” impacts their daily lives. I believe more needs to be done to educate voters that their vote is a secret.

Does Parliament do a good job of holding the Executive to account? If not, what can be done to improve this?

I believe that more can be done to hold the executive to account. It is my view that parliament should do more to strive improve its oversight mechanisms. This can be done by creating better frameworks for the inspection the work of the departments. I feel that ‘desktop oversight’ and ‘boardroom approach’ to oversight allows the departments to get away with selective reporting, choosing what they want parliament to know and not enough time is allocated to portfolio work to thoroughly interrogate the executives.

What are your or your party's aspirations/plans for the remainder of the Sixth Parliament?

The DA is going into the 2024 National and Provincial Elections having just come out of the Federal Congress. The leadership which we elected is fit and proper to take us into an increased majority. Our federal leader has placed on the national agenda the moonshot pact, which is taking shape. The DA is ready to hard work to lead this pact together and form a national coalition government with likeminded political parties. A solid moonshot pact is precisely what SA needs at this time. We have seen how dangerous it is to have power concentrated in the hands of one political party.

What obstacles prevent Parliament from doing its work and how would you fix it?

I would really enforce the principle of separation of powers. Currently parliament is not executing its functions in a manner that fully benefits ordinary South Africans because members place the interests of their parties before that of the country and very few MPs are willing to stand to truth, which would benefit the poorest of our citizens.

What would your message to South Africans be?

I am excited about my party message which says #PowerToTheRegistered. I would like to call on all South African’s who are eligible to vote, but are not registered to get themselves registered with the IEC. Every vote counts and indeed #PowerToTheRegistered!


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