What is your political background? How did you come to join your political party and become an MP? Which constituency office have you been assigned to? In 2011 I was very actively involved in communities in Namaqualand, Northern Cape. I founded a monthly community newspaper, Namakwa Kletz, and presented a programme “Aktuele Sake” on the local community radio. I also created a NPO, Daisy Ubuntu Charity to assist disadvantage children and disabled people in the communities. In my heart I am a community activist; a people’s person who wants to improve circumstances for especially those who are less fortunate.
The DA approached me before the 2011 elections and because I can relate with the values of the Democratic Alliance, I decided to stand for Ward 4 (Springbok, Fonteintjie and Carolusberg). For the first time the DA won the ward and I also received the highest percentage votes of all councillors who participated in the election in the Northern Cape in 2011.
I was a ward councillor for three years before the opportunity to apply for a position in the provincial legislature / National Assembly came up. I was among the five candidates who qualified for a position as a Member of Parliament in the National Assembly. “What an honour and further opportunity to serve the people of the Northern Cape, Namaqualand and also the country through the portfolio committee in which I serve”.
As Constituency Head of Namaqualand, I expanded the DA with five councillors since I became a MP in 2014. This was achieved through hard work and building relationships with the councillors and the people in the communities, standing firm against corruption and trying to do my best to seek solutions for problems. Unemployment, HIV/AIDS, poverty, social problems and lack of service delivery are realities. My position as a MP enables me to drive these issues on a national level by creating awareness through motions, written questions and member’s statements.
The Communications Committee on national level creates a wonderful challenge on different levels with different entities–a further opportunity to serve people across South Africa in the media sector, with me specifically focusing on the community media sector.
What does your job as an MP entail? If the statistics are correct I am the MP with the biggest constituency in the country–Namaqualand is almost 60 000 km2, with four municipalities that I serve and do oversight in. Geographically it is a challenge, because some areas only have poor gravel roads and no cell phone reception, but you still need to reach the people and this means hours spent on the road. To do constituency work however, is a highlight because you get to work with people and can try to make a difference. You further get to meet the people who voted for you to represent them - it gives you, as a politician, an opportunity to give back; even if it is only your time – these days an expensive commodity.
Fridays and Mondays are supposed to be constituency days, but because there are no airports in Namaqualand linked with Cape Town I have to drive 7+ hours to get home over a weekend, therefore, I do not go home / to the constituency every week.
Tuesdays I am in the Communications Committee and Wednesdays and Thursdays after caucus we have plenary sittings, which can be quite interesting depending on what surprises the EFF create.
With the committee you represent comes extra responsibility, because people start to depend on you to help solve their problems in the specific environment. The work of a MP entails legislative, political and community work. The Masters in Public Administration that I am busy with, is supporting my line of work and I find it very helpful.
What are you finding most challenging about the Fifth Parliament? I sometimes feel valuable time is wasted when members do not focus on the business of Parliament and disrupt sessions.
Are you happy with the proportional representation (PR) system or are you in favour of electoral reform? I think the proportional representation system is adequate.
Is Parliament's public participation model adequate/ robust enough that it affords enough public participation before a law is passed? I do not think participation is enough. There should be more awareness/information programs to ensure that people know how the legislation will impact on them to ensure that they do participate with contributions.
What are you passionate about? This applies both in a political/professional arena as well as personally? I love people, so that means I find my work satisfying especially when I can make a positive contribution. I love Namaqualand. I want to see change that will create opportunities, and therefore I am passionate to work as hard as I can to help contribute to this.
I would never have done what I am doing if I did not have a supportive, loving family. I feel blessed. I have a son, Wian and daughter Joha; also welcomed a daughter in law, Jessica to our family. My husband, Willem is a farmer and the pillar in our house.
What is your message to South Africa? We can all make a difference. Change starts within. We need to be the change we want to see. Let us contribute to build a prosperous South Africa for our children and stand firm against corruption. Let us uphold the values reflected in our Constitution. Let us care.
To learn more about this Member, visit her profile.
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