What is your political background? In December 1993, my wife Lydia and I started a political party based on biblical principles called the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP). I became its first President and I have been serving as a Member of Parliament since 1994.
How did you become involved in politics and particularly, what drew you to your specific party? I established a political party that promoted values and beliefs that I believed in. As a Christian I saw it important to be involved in the country’s decision making processes.
What does your job as an MP entail? For a person to be a successful MP, they need to understand the importance of understanding people, the values each person carries, and ensure that these values and needs are catered for whenever political decisions are made. When discussions take place, an MP needs to assess how that particular decision would benefit ordinary citizens. Secondly, whenever practically possible, the needs of communities need to be served. An MP also contributes towards law making.
What are your thoughts about the Fifth Parliament so far? I do not appreciate the abusive language being used in the National Assembly House, the undermining of the decorum of Parliament, the undermining of the rules and the general disrespect being displayed when people are trying to push their own agendas. MPs need to understand that they can still disagree respectfully. This was disappearing in the current Parliament. Many young people are watching the events in Parliament and MPs are setting a bad example. This behaviour can be taken and re-enacted in schools, in communities and in homes. This was is a serious concern. The image Parliament has been portraying to the public has not been a good one. Robust debate does not mean disrespect.
What constituency area have you been assigned to by your party? What constituency work have you been involved with or how have you helped members of the public so far? What aspects interest you the most about constituency work? The ACDP does not have many MPs representing it in Parliament and I therefore has to spread myself throughout the country; listening to the needs of various communities. The main constituency I am responsible for is West Rand in Krugersdorp. I have worked a lot in the squatter camps, helping people to get identity documents and passports. I have also helped with getting new born children registered with the Department of Home Affairs, facilitating them getting their birth certificates. The ACDP has also ensured that people who did not have access to water received access in these squatter camps. The ACDP is also committed to donating clothing and food for people whose shacks had burned down.
What are you most passionate about - this applies both in a political/professional arena as well as personally? Service delivery needs are very important and the ACDP is committed to catering to these needs, especially around access to water, refuse removal, electricity and other basic services. The tardiness of local government councillors is a serious concern – they take their time to fulfill their promises and this is very frustrating. Many times when MPs fight to try and get their constituencies serviced they will be told there is no budget. South Africans however need to be positive about their future. I am passionate about seeing people prosper, especially through education and job creation.
What would your message to South Africa be? South Africans should not lose hope. There are many people in politics whose word you cannot trust and people who make impossible promises for the sake of politics. MPs should not all be painted with the same brush. If a political party does not take you seriously vote for another one. Members of the public have a very important tool they can use – their power to vote. Political parties are not all the same. If the political party that brought you liberation no longer serves your needs, vote for another one.
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