Petrus Johannes Groenewald (FF+)


What is your political background? I got involved in politics when I was still a student at university in 1978. I differed from the National Party or the governing party at that stage and I decided I needed to get involved in politics. In 1987, I participated in the elections and lost my constituency and then in 1988 I became a mayor at local government level. I participated in the 1989 elections again and I was elected as a Member of Parliament. In 1999 I went to the North West Provincial Legislature for two years and came back to Parliament in 2001. I can say I have an experience on local, provincial and national level.

What does my job as an MP entail? I have a constituency and a large part of my job as a Member of Parliament is to try and solve problems from the electorate. The other part of my job is to attend committee meetings in Parliament and this is a very important part of Parliamentary functions. The public only sees us when delivering speeches in the National Assembly, but they do not understand that the real work is happening in the Committees. We also make speeches in Parliament and this is what the public often sees. I also have social duties, for instance I would sometimes be requested to attend a funeral of a farmer who had been murdered.

At the moment I am the longest serving Member of the Police Committee and I have been in this committee since 1989, although in the previous dispensation. It is important to highlight that as an MP you are allowed to sit on any portfolio committee and this is usually the case for smaller parties.

What is your impression of the Fifth parliament so far? I do not have a good impression of the Fifth Parliament as I think it has degenerated the ethics and the decorum of Parliament to a certain extent. I will be quite blatant about it and say that the EFF just want to spread propaganda to the general public. More people might be watching what is happening in Parliament now but I do not agree with the way the EFF is conducting itself in the House. It is possible to have a robust debate, but you cannot set an example of ill-discipline because we must set an example as Members of Parliament. I think the Fifth Parliament is not good so far and the EFF was part of the problem.

I also think the governing party is held more accountable in the Fifth Parliament and this is a good thing. I have been here for very long time and I have heard a lot of rude racial remarks that are being made by Members of the ANC and this is totally unacceptable to me. We may have different different views but we must have mutual respect for one another.

Where is your constituency? What has been most interesting about your constituency work so far? I am the provincial leader of the North West for the FF+ and my office is in the Stilfontein. We do not have constituencies like in the previous dispensation and my constituency is the whole electorate as we do not have a lot of MPs for my party. There are a number of activities that I have been involved in for different areas that are not limited to the portfolio that I attend in Parliament.

What are you passionate about? This applies both in a political/professional and personal arena. I am passionate about my party as we really believe in self-determination and we do not shy away from that. As the recently elected new leader of the FF+ I want to see people becoming proud about who they are. I am passionate about the protection of minority rights in South Africa because the governing party does not support minority rights. President Zuma once said, “The ANC comes first and then the country,” and this is completely unacceptable. I am not ashamed to say that I fight for the rights of Afrikaners because Afrikaners must have a voice in Parliament and that is why most of my speeches are in Afrikaans.

Personally, I am passionate about karate. I have a black belt in karate, although I do not have much time for exercise. I like photography and gardening on weekends.

What is your message to South Africans? We should have mutual respect for one another even if we differ on politics or policies. I think we have a problem of ill-discipline in South Africa and we will have to create discipline among our young people.

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