Ms Ellen Prins (ANC)


How did you become involved in politics and what attracted you to your particular party?

I have been a community activist at local government level, assisting people with repossession and eviction disputes from a young age. At the time, I was also a member of the United Democratic Front (UDF) active in Schoemanshoek in the Western Cape in the late 70’s, just about 10 km’s outside of Oudtshoorn. Just before and after the 1994 elections the mass democratic movement amalgamated so that our work carried on under the banner of the African National Congress (ANC).

What does your job as an MP entail?

I am at Parliament chairing quite a vast portfolio, because as a Select Committee we oversee four ministries namely Communications, Public Enterprises, Science and Technology and Telecommunications and Postal Services. I also have to attend study groups which are a party responsibility just to check whether group members are on the same page on matters as they emerge in the House.

What is your impression about the Fifth Parliament so far?

I think it is quite radical in its approach which is to say work is getting done at committee level, specifically the back to basics approach that had been adopted by the majority party. However, the chamber is quite unruly and at times I feel ashamed to be part of the antics that have come to characterise how business is conducted there. Seemingly we are no longer interested in debating issues that affect our people, but there is a focus on character assassinations.

What constituency area have you been assigned to you by your party?

I have been assigned two constituencies - Oudtshoorn and Kannaland. This is because my party won less seats in the fifth Parliament, so we have to spread ourselves across our constituencies.

What is most interesting about your constituency work so far?

Everything from refuse collection disputes to unmaintained road infrastructure and even branch members in my constituency will tell you that I am the most approachable amongst many MPs. I have no qualms doing door to door check-ins to gather what issues my communities are struggling with. Even if the solutions will not be immediate, at least I will know that I had made a commitment which needs follow-up. Every Monday I am at my constituency and with the by-elections in my constituency which happened on of the 7th of March 2016, I have had to put in the extra hours. Most recently, I assisted an individual whose bank financed vehicle was repossessed because he was R7 000 in arrears. I had direct contact with senior management at Absa and I was able to convince the bank to return the car so that an alternative repayment plan could be worked out.

What are you most passionate about? This applies both in a political/professional arena as well as personally?

I am most passionate about assisting the community at local government level although I am at the national legislature. That is because as South Africans we seem to have lost our sense of community and lifting up and helping out one another as we did during apartheid.

What would your message to South Africa be?

I am pleading with all South Africans to go and register for the upcoming local elections. They must not forget where we come from and how far we have come, because the ANC is the only liberation movement that still has the best interests of South Africans at heart.

To learn more about this Member, see her profile here.


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