Mr Khethamabala Sithole (IFP)


What is your Political background? I joined the Inkhata Freedom Party (IFP) in 1979 when I was still in school. The primary focus of teachers then was teaching students about the politics of the country at the time. I have been in different structures in the IFP since 2011 and am currently serving as the Gauteng Provincial Chairperson. I could say I have been involved in the structures of the IFP for most of my life. I fully understand the vision and mission of the IFP. The party’s philosophy is based on self-help and self-reliance and that is why the party is mainly focused on the devolution and not the centralisation of power.

What does my job as MP involve in detailed? An MP’s work involves attending portfolio committees. I am currently serving in four committees and these include the portfolio committees on Public Works and Human Settlements while also serving as an alternate member in the portfolio committees on Sports and Recreation and Transport. MPs are also responsible for developing policies that will serve the people of South Africa, specifically at the municipal level. Municipalities are responsible for implementing what is developed at national level although this is not happening at times. It was disappointing to see the Minister of Social Development distributing food parcels from national level to the branches, because this is supposed to be delivered at provincial level and then to the municipalities. Lack of capacity in municipalities is as a result of so much focus on capacitating officials at provincial and national level.

What is your impression of the fifth parliament so far? The Fifth Parliament is a disaster, because there is lack of respect in the House. Some MPs come to Parliament wearing gumboots and overalls. It is actually a shame to be in the Fifth Parliament as it is not a conducive environment for MPs to execute their mandate. The bias Presiding Officer is also a challenge and all the Presiding Officers are members of the African National Congress (ANC), resulting in favouritism towards the ruling party. All the portfolio committees are also chaired by ANC members despite the fact that we claim to have an inclusive Parliament. It is expected that the Speaker of the House, Ms Baleka Mbete will show favouritism towards the ANC, because she has taken all the resolutions discussed at ANC branches. Parliament should have a neutral speaker in order to get rid of the bias.

Where is your constituency? What has been interesting about your constituency work so far? I have two constituency offices; one is in Germiston, Ekurhuleni and another in Pretoria. My constituency in Ekurhuleni is dominated by black people, mainly Zulus, Xhosas and Sothos while in Tshwane you are likely to find a culturally diverse group of people. I enjoy working in Tshwane, because I am able to learn different languages and learn about the different cultures of people in the country. The main challenge in my constituencies is lack of resources to execute our mandate, especially trying to distribute pamphlets and the books of the IFP to various communities.

What are you passionate about? This applies both in a political/professional and personal? I am passionate about sport, especially running. I like to help young people who are passionate about sport and this includes buying them sport facilities. I am also passionate about transformation and transformation should not only be about black and white. I believe that the country is still slacking in terms of transformation in sports and the built environment. The sporting codes are clearly not implemented in schools and this is a matter that needs to be addressed urgently. The Council for Built Environment (CBE) is still largely dominated by white males and should be changing in a democratic South Africa. There should be a South African book that specifically focuses on the meaning of transformation in South Africa as this is often misunderstood by most people.

What would your message to South Africans be? We must bring back respect, because we have a lost generation. Most young people are being informed by social networks rather than parents and leaders. We must educate our young people. All schools should be open to everyone and this should include doing away with the division between Model C and township schools. The youth should understand the culture of all those who are living in the country.

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