1. How did you come to join your political party and become an MP?
I joined the DA in 2011 through the Democratic Alliance Students' Organisation at Nelson Mandela University, where I served as branch Chairperson and the Secretary General of the Student Representative's Council. I was later elected a DA councilor in Nelson Mandela Bay in 2016. In 2019 I was elected into Parliament, where I served as the DA's Shadow Minister for Basic Education, a Parliamentary Councilor to the leader for the official opposition, and the DA Constituency Head of Alfred.
2. What is one goal that you would like to achieve during your time as an MP?
I would like to tangibly change peoples' lives by influencing government in a way that ensures that services reach the most far flung rural areas. Furthermore, I would like to make a meaningful contribution towards our broken education system. I want to change it for the better so that we can provide good quality education for all learners, especially those in the forgotten rural areas and township communities. Education is a key tool to access opportunities, change the circumstances of your birth, beat poverty, unemployment, hunger and inequality.
3. What does your job as an MP entail, and what do you find challenging/demanding?
My job entails holding the Executive to account through my Portfolio Committee, where I ask Ministers questions and conduct general oversight. My job also involves being a legislator and passing laws. Within my job, I must serve my constituents by ensuring that government does what they are supposed to. I work with different stakeholders to hold the government accountable and make sure that services reach the people. One of the most challenging things is managing time between all these responsibilities while staying consistent, informed and sharp.
4. Which constituency office have you been assigned to? Can you give examples of constituency work you engage in?
I’m assigned to the DA's Alfred Nzo Constituency which has 5 municipalities under it, namely: Umzimvubu (Mount Frere and Mount Ayliff), Ntabankulu, Winnie Madikizela Mandela (Bizana), Matatiele and Elundini (Ugie, Maclear, Mount Fletcher).
I help communities a lot with service delivery issues such as access to water, electricity, roads, housing, education and health. I help to monitor government initiatives to ensure that no one is left behind.
For example, I was one of the people who handled the issue of the Tebetebe bridge emaxesibeni which falls under my constituency. Through persistence and oversight, the dangerous bridge has been brought to the President's attention and now falls under the Welisizwe project to build bridges. I deal a lot with communities without water and I help them by connecting them with NGOs that build boreholes and donate water tanks. Most importantly I involve the different municipalities, provincial government and national government to intervene in serious cases.
5. How do you think Parliament can drive more public participation in policy, legislation and voting?
Parliament needs to be a platform for accountability. Parliament, different levers of the state, and voter education must be introduced at school for people to know how the country works. This will ensure that the youth don’t only come across the House on a television. Parliament must make it easier for people to understand law in their own language, and they should offer practical examples of the law so that the people can understand. Parliament must go beyond the tar road to reach South Africans.
6. What are you passionate about, both professionally and personally?
I’m very passionate about education because I, personally, have gone through this unequal education system that produces different outcomes depending on the circumstances of your birth, geography, class and access to quality resources. From the village, to a township, to the green grasses of Botha's Hill, and a matric year at a former model c school, I know that with access to a good quality and well-resourced education, you can have better chances and opportunities.
7. Which social justice issues are you most concerned with?
I am most concerned with access to good quality basic education as well the plight of rural South Africans. Rural South Africans have been completely forgotten by governments, and they are living without access to basic human rights such as water, roads, schools and healthcare facilities. This is harmful to their well being.
8. Does Parliament do a good job of holding the Executive to account? If not, what can be done to improve this?
At this point, Parliament is not living up to it’s fullest potential because the governing party members deployed to different oversight Committees don’t thoroughly conduct research, ask questions or hold the Executive accountable. On the ground oversight is always announced, and in many instances only a facade of the truth is exposed to legislators who are supposed to hold government accountable in the different Departments and entities. The work of Parliament must transcend political party lines. As an example, Portfolio Committee Chairperson seats must be shared with the opposition, and the ruling party must open robust debate even if it has implications for the ruling party.
9. What are you or your party's aspirations/plans for the remainder of the Sixth Parliament?
Our main mission is to end poverty, unemployment and indignity. We aim to hold the government to account by putting forward various plans and proposals. Most importantly, we want to robustly debate legislation and see how we can tangibly change peoples lives for the better.
10. What obstacles prevent Parliament from doing its work and how would you fix it?
Parliament must use technology, not just for the workings of Parliament, but for law-making. Currently there is no seamless technology interaction. Parliament TV must also be accessible to all South Africans, and not just those who can afford DSTV. Parliament must also conduct unannounced oversight visits to get a true reflection of the status of things. Parliament must better hold the Executive to account by strengthening its mechanisms of oversight.
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