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Mr Cilliers Brink

What is your political background? How did you come to join your political party and become an MP? From an early age I had an unusual interest in politics. I think I was drawn to the ability of strong and resourceful leaders to change institutions for the better, or more often, to avert disaster. My earliest form of political activism started at age 11. I fervently wrote letters to newspapers, and a few of them were actually published. I went on to study law at the University of Pretoria, and co-founded the first branch of the DA Students Organisation (DASO) on the campus. I later became involved in local politics, and in 2011 I was elected as a DA councillor in the Tshwane Metro. Following the 2016 local government elections, the DA became the largest party in the Tshwane Metro, and I was appointed Member of the Mayoral Committee for Corporate and Shared Services. The portfolio is at the heart of municipal governance, and prepared me well for my position as MP serving on the portfolio committee of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs.

What does your job as an MP entail? What do you enjoy about being an MP? My job in Parliament I believe entails speaking for honest, hardworking people of all backgrounds, including people who are desperate to find work. For me it is important to use all avenues available to an MP - debates, motions, questions to the executive, committee meetings, and the lawmaking process - to ensure that laws and government action encourage instead of stifle the creative power of individuals. Collectivist and tribal thinking has always been predominant in South African politics in one way or the other. It shapes public policy to this day. And it always subordinates the individual to the interests of some group elite. The most persistent lie that has been told to South Africans, and the cause of many government failures, is that our society is a zero-sum game between workers and employers, between black and white, between immigrants and citizens, or whatever group-versus-group best suits the people who are really wielding the power. Think of laws that compel businesses to impose racial quotas on their workforce, procurement, or shareholding, or policies that promote civil servants on grounds of party affiliation instead of competence. Think also of public sector unions who block good teachers from becoming headmasters, and in other instances use their political influence to prevent much-needed economic reforms. Over time these policies and the worldview that informs them deprive honest, hardworking people of the fruits of investment, innovation, growth, employment, and the other benefits of a free and open society. Against this record of historical failure is a case for electing governments and making laws that place the individual - not the group, the tribe, or a “representative” elite - at the centre of society. Whenever I am able to bring home this message in Parliament, I feel like my time here is worthwhile.

What are your or your party's aspirations/plans for the Sixth Parliament? The DA is determined to break the ANC government’s chokehold on the economy. Earlier this year the Leader of the Opposition announced the DA’s economic recovery plan, and this is our main focus. We have to find ways of cutting the public sector wage bill, otherwise far more people who do not work for government will be out of a job in the near future. A household can live beyond its means, but only for a limited period of time. The same is true for governments - in more precise terms, government cannot for long live beyond the means of taxpayers. We have to stop the ANC passing laws that will destroy the wealth-making ability of the South African people, including plans to dilute private property rights, nationalise private healthcare, and force pension funds to bail out bankrupt state-owned entities like Eskom and SAA. These entities need to be restructured, and in case of SAA it should be allowed to go into business rescue (and to fail, if need be) instead of pulling the whole state into bankruptcy. Lastly, energy laws have to be reformed to unshackle independent power producers. In my own portfolio as DA Deputy Shadow Minister of Cooperative Governance, we will ensure that nobody forgets about the more than R1 billion in municipal funds lost in the collapse of VBS Mutual Bank. The officials who were responsible for the deposits must never work for government again, although some of them are in fact trying to escape accountability. We will also make sure that voters know ahead of the 2021 local government election which Mayors, councillors, and parties are responsible for destroying service delivery in their communities.

What obstacles prevent Parliament from doing its work and how would you fix it? There are a number of reforms that have to be made to Parliament’s rules and orders to ensure the institution becomes more effective, especially after the Nkandla judgment of the Constitutional Court. Nobody knows more about this than the Chief Whip of the Opposition, and he will be able to give a more comprehensive response to this question than a newly minted MP. But from my few months here I see two reforms as crucial. We need clear sanctions against ministers who do not give substantive answers to parliamentary questions for months on end, or who give vague or evasive answers. If he had attended the last oral questions session of the governance cluster, President Ramaphosa would have been embarrassed by the sloppy and indifferent performance of his ministers (at least those who bothered to attend themselves, instead of sending their deputies). A few of us would also like to see that MPs in committees be allowed to ask “rapid-fire” questions to civil servants who appear before us. Too often answers are fudged and facts obfuscated when officials are allowed to answer several questions at once, instead of one-on-one.

What obstacles prevent Parliament from doing its work and how would you fix it? There are a number of reforms that have to be made to Parliament’s rules and orders to ensure the institution becomes more effective, especially after the Nkandla judgment of the Constitutional Court. Nobody knows more about this than the Chief Whip of the Opposition, and he will be able to give a more comprehensive response to this question than a newly minted MP. But from my few months here I see two reforms as crucial. We need clear sanctions against ministers who do not give substantive answers to parliamentary questions for months on end, or who give vague or evasive answers. If he had attended the last oral questions session of the governance cluster, President Ramaphosa would have been embarrassed by the sloppy and indifferent performance of his ministers (at least those who bothered to attend themselves, instead of sending their deputies). A few of us would also like to see that MPs in committees be allowed to ask “rapid-fire” questions to civil servants who appear before us. Too often answers are fudged and facts obfuscated when officials are allowed to answer several questions at once, instead of one-on-one.

Does Parliament do a good job of holding the Executive to account? If not, what can be done to improve this? Parliament has a number of savvy and experienced Members who know how to use its rules and orders to devastating effect against corrupt and incompetent government. This is how, for example, the DA front-bencher Haniff Hoosen uncovered the fraud behind the Guptas’s SA citizenship. Today the former Home Affairs minister is neither a Minister nor an MP, in part due to another MP doing his job. But good MPs are undermined by Speakers and presiding officers who care more about protecting their parties, and the executive, than fulfilling their constitutional duties. In the Nkandla case the Constitutional Court castigated Parliament for its failure to hold the executive to account, and the judgment should prompt a serious review of the way Parliament does its business, but also how presiding officers respond to the legitimate efforts by especially opposition MPs to hold government to account.

Are you happy with the proportional representation system or are you in favor of electoral reform? I agree with the principle of proportional representation, namely that a political party must receive a number of seats proportionate to its share of the vote. But reform is needed to encourage parties to elect strong candidates who are not afraid to follow their conscience, and speak for their voters regardless of their party line. This can be done without discarding proportional representation. In municipal councils we have a mixed system of proportional representation and constituencies (wards, as they are known). The system is designed in such a way that communities elect their representative, who can be an independent or affiliated to a party. But the overall number of seats still reflect a party’s share of the vote. We might need to consider such a system once we have attended to more pressing economic and constitutional problems.

What can be done to get citizens more interested/ involved in Parliament? Is this an area where Parliament can improve and if so, what recommendations do you have? What are you passionate about? This applies both in political/ professional arena as well as personally? Parliament will be more interesting, and by extension more accessible, if it is made more effective. If people know that when an MP asks a question, the President or one of his ministers will be compelled to give a truthful, precise, and prompt reply then the value of the institution will increase in the public mind. Compelling the powerful to speak the truth, and to speak it often, is Parliament’s proverbial superpower. Focus on enhancing that power, and the rest will follow.

What is your message to South Africa? We can become a winning nation if we unleash the creative power of the individual, if we stand up to elites who pretend to speak on behalf a group or tribe, but in fact are only lining their own pockets. We have more in common, as South Africans, and as human beings, than we now imagine. Once we discover and serve the interests and the values most of us share - being one’s own person, working hard, taking responsibility, using opportunities to move up in life - then we can overcome poverty, lawlessness, social discord, corruption, and all the other afflictions of living in South Africa in 2019.


Mr Chris Hunsinger

What is your political background? How did you come to join your political party and become an MP?

My first political stand was at the age of 16 during a Church Council Meeting shortly after I was appointed as the youngest deacon in SA in the Dutch Reformed Church (NGK). At the time, when I questioned the unwillingness of the Dutch Reformed Church to accept the Belhar Confession, a Christian Statement Belief written in Afrikaans and adopted by the Dutch Reformed Mission Church which expressed unity and non-segregation between Christians of different races. Needless to say that my Deaconship soon ended but rooted my belief in fairness and equal rights, access and opportunity. I was drawn to the new mood of reconciliation in our country and supported Wynand Malan’s: “(Afr:) Winde van Verandering” (movement of change) into forming the Democratic Party which later merged with other reform-minded parties & became the Democratic Alliance of today. 15 years later, after being appointed as elderly in the NGK once I married and moved to the West Coast, I did the same with the same consequence. Before becoming an MP in 2014, I was a Ward Councillor in Swartland Local Government and MayCo (MMC) for Finance & Economic Development. I also served as Portfolio Chairperson for Finance & Economic Development – during this time Swartland became the first Municipality in South Africa to attain three consecutive clean audit findings. As Ward Councillor, I improved support for the DA from 52% in 2004 to 93% in 2014 with a 73% voter participation. I acquired management skills as an entrepreneur & owner of businesses after completing my studies at Stellenbosch University. These skills came to good use in the political organisational environment from the time when I said “yes” to join ward committee meetings as Business Sector Representative 20 years ago, to now- serving in Parliament as a public representative for everyone.

What does your job as an MP entail? What do you enjoy about being an MP? Being an MP is an immense privilege. I serve mindful of the more than 40 000 votes which afforded me the opportunity. Since becoming a public representative I developed many new skills with valuable personal development and growth culminating into a high sense of meaningfulness compared to my previous occupation as a successful businessman. I enjoy the variety and change. Engagements and interactions with people, preparation and researching on topics as well as planning of campaign strategies, sharing ideas, driving solutions and more.

What are your or your party's aspirations/plans for the Sixth Parliament? As the creator of an enabling environment it would be great if the 6th Parliament could deliver on the huge financial management challenges needed for growth and development towards full economic freedom for all South Africans. A major catalyst in the desire to achieve this involves much needed cooperation instead of the current trend of radicalism. Tolerance therefore, I would suggest, should be the aspiration to now connect with the freedom attained since 1994. The values of freedom together with tolerance will go a long way in establishing such an empowering environment – a sovereignty which should be experienced by every individual so that citizenship and pride can become the drivers of self-determination, choice & prosperity. As such, built of patriotism and companionship rather than repetitive cycles of victors through exploitation & dominance.

What obstacles prevent Parliament from doing its work and how would you fix it?

While deliberate sanctioning of parliamentary processes, misconduct and unruly behaviour pose a direct threat to Parliament’s operations, addressing various issues around parliamentary structure, processes and procedures, can improve the functioning of Parliament. These would include improvement in objectivity by appointment of someone from the judiciary as Speaker of the House and Chair at the NCOP. Improvement and extension of accountability will be attained by appointing opposition parties as chairpersons of all portfolio committees. This will improve responsibility and oversight. By fixing some Rules of Parliament around processing of Bills and amendments like the post-public participation phase with Section 76 Bills, frequently valuable input is received and gets tabled to National Assembly committees in the final round but which should be allowed for final consideration instead of mere ratification by the portfolio committee concerned in finalising a Bill or amendment before 2nd Reading before the House. Improved standards of facilitating debate and decision-making will be achieved by providing clarity on the format of committee reports and how minority views are presented in these documents.

Which Constituency Office have you been assigned to? Can you give examples of Constituency work you engaged in?

I am most excited about my constituency Bergrivier, located along the West Coast in Western Cape and the service delivery progress which the combined council have achieved. Improvements and achievements can be attributed to the establishment of a participatory management culture in both the political and administrative parts of party political & municipal functions. A principled separation-of-powers-policy between political and administrative functions is maintained. The constituency office serves the community with over 70 different needs and is well visited on a daily basis. Coordination with each ward and branch structure functions well and regular activist training ensures continuous growth in number and activity. Themed campaigns like petitions, information tables and house meetings provide growth opportunity for involvement and connectivity to inhabitants of all the major towns, villages and farms. I spend my time in the constituency on a proportional basis amongst all wards and with councillors working amongst activists within every community. Ward committees are established and well-functioning with active public participation meetings during IDP, SDP & Budget processes. Inter-governmental cooperation and relations with adjacent municipalities and councils, the West Coast & Winelands Districts as well as provincial and national spheres of government is satisfactory. Together, we have consistently increased support to the DA and gradually expanded control over all the wards by serving everyone in the municipal area irrespective of political orientation.

Does Parliament do a good job of holding the Executive to account? If not, what can be done to improve this? Ample opportunity is provided through program planning in plenary sessions to engage and scrutinise the work of the Executive. Little effect however is achieved with the absence of Ministers- when they simply do not attend at these occasions. The bigger question to me around thoughts on improving effectiveness in holding Ministers accountable should include consideration of minimum number of attendance by Ministers to portfolio committee meetings and structured consultations with the opposition, which can capture many solutions into mainstream governance and management.

Are you happy with the proportional representation system or are you in favour of electoral reform? The principle of proportional representation remains a great one for democratic fairness, and should be maintained as such. Closely linked to proportional representation is the element of participation, establishing a democracy of substance which involves the spectrum of community rather than having an approach of “winner takes all”. Although by exception, the proportional representative system does create very sombre governance situations to any constituency in local government sphere when the majority of wards are governed by the minority. This situation can be addressed by a reform decision in the currently applied values of the proportional formula calculation. I am in favour of reform change in favour of a system where the constituency directly votes for their MP/L representative instead of voting solely for a party and then the party decides on the candidate. A premium of voter-decision-input should be awarded to the electorate on who their public representatives should be.

What can be done to get citizens more interested/ involved in Parliament? Is this an area where Parliament can improve and if so, what recommendations do you have? What are you passionate about? This applies both in political/ professional arena as well as personally? Involvement of citizens with Parliament should be a shared responsibility and can never be replaced by a pure administrative driven programme. The negative civic perception is a carryover of bad behaviour and impressions caused by irresponsible politicians from allegations of corruption, wasteful and irregular expenditure, to non-application of consequence management etc. all adding up to the reputational damage of SA, but Parliament in particular. Without doubt, Parliament’s image can be improved and, with that the impression of SA together with civic interest and trust. I am convinced that a lot can be achieved to change this perception through honest commitment & real involvement. Too much is focused on “getting in again” instead of improving citizens’ lives. Too much centres around staying in power instead of on the empowering the civic benefit cycle. I believe involvement is a natural consequence of mutual trust; something which happens when people experience attention and care.

What is your message to South Africa? Unexpected and unannounced, the Berlin wall came down in 1989. An occasion which rarely is recognised in having had an impact on us during the formative years of our democracy. So much more of our future had to be decided upon anew. Simply because of the absence of the big ideologies we had to work out the agenda, let alone the outcome, collectively, for ourselves. Twenty five years later, in a similar way, we are again challenged to decide on a new path. In a similar way as then, we have to develop the solution from amidst us as South Africans and present this plan as a product of the collective “us”. A similar occasion as then born from the dilemma that we need a plan by “us” for “us”. With a nation fast approaching the economically fatal fiscal cliff, all points to much needed commitment to join together because time is of the essence. I believe we can do this again, and find solutions to our problems, amongst and between everyone willing. Key to finding this acceptable agenda and suitable plan will be determined by the extent to which we value the “us”-construct. Working on this “us”-construct in this 6th Parliamentary term starts with me & a promise to work hard at finding common ground for the sake of a future. A vision of “us” in which your child is my child and your grandkids are my grandkids.


Ms Nomsa Innocencia Tarabella Marchesi

What is your political background? How did you come to join your political party and become an MP?

Growing up in the township during the 80’s politics influenced me in a number of ways. The school I attended, Vulamasango High, was oftentimes involved in protests and riots. Academic activities were at a low ebb. Meetings were held to encourage students to continue the struggle. Fellow school mates would disappear at night during police raids and/or crossed the South African borders. It was a politically charged period and the need to study was not apparent. It was freedom first and education last. On the contrary, this slogan was not welcome in my house. I remember one evening there was a gathering at night where one of our school mates was accused of being an informer. He was ‘neck-laced’ there and then by fellow school mates a couple of streets from my home. He was only 15 years old; that shook me to the core. Fortunately, I was never jailed or saw the need to go to exile. With the fear that I would not complete my matric, my parents decided to move me to a school in Wedela High, near Potchefstroom, where I completed my Matric. That was the beginning of a new chapter in my life and an opportunity to go to University. Fast forward to late 2013, I was introduced into the DA by a friend. I became an activist for a short period of time and applied to be an MP. I was elected MP in 2014.

What does your job as an MP entail? What do you enjoy about being an MP? Being a Member of Parliament is both a pleasure and a great privilege because you become the voice of the people. Learning how to use that voice is a challenging skill and once you master that skill you can achieve so much; with a science background, both academic and industrial, being a parliamentarian is a lifelong learning process of soft skills and I am still learning.

My typical week begins with political activism in my constituency. Then for the rest of the week, I would be in Cape Town for parliamentary committee meetings and plenaries. This is where we hold the Executive to account through parliamentary oversights.

What are your or your party’s aspirations/ plans for the Sixth Parliament? Poverty, inequality and unemployment have negative impacts in our society and result in the social ills we are seeing throughout the country today. I believe there are two things that can uplift the state of affairs in SA; quality education and a growing economy. Quality education has the potential to minimize inequality and unfortunately, quality education in this country is only afforded to and by those who can pay for it. With high unemployment comes poverty and many parents rely on public schools which are failing our learners. Learners either drop out of school or because of the low standard of education they receive at school; they become unemployable. It is a vicious circle!

My aspiration together with the DA is for this government to grow the economy. Growing our economy will not necessarily get rid of all our socio-economic problems but it can reduce inequality. According to Statistic SA, 10.2 million South Africans are without jobs and 50% of our youth are unemployed. The DA policy offers the “Economic Recovery Plan”, which is a pro-growth, pro-investment and pro-job creation reform. This policy is a step in the right direction. We need to cut the wage bill and roll-out voluntary civil service year for young people and finally, create an enabling environment for job creation.

What obstacles prevent Parliament from doing its work and how would you fix it? In the 5th Parliament, we saw how the then Speaker, Ms Mbete, would muzzle MPs because she felt it important to protect the ruling party. Former Speaker Mbete misunderstood her role, which was that of an impartial arbiter. Another hallmark of the 5th Parliament was the blatant acknowledgment that while MPs pledge their allegiance on the Constitution they, in actual fact, declared that their party came before the Constitution. Former President Zuma was the champion of that sad period.

There were also examples of MPs lying under oath and yet receiving no sanctions for doing so. Our new President, Mr Ramaphosa, is a case in point. The 5th Parliament will certainly be remembered for the fact that many MPs would not fit the Honourable title and that opposition parties often resorted to courts for Parliament to perform its duties.

Parliament needs to be acting independently as its function is to hold the Executive to account. For that to be happening, a mechanism that ensures the Speaker of the House remains impartial needs to be established. Possibly the best solution would be to appoint the Speaker from outside the MPs pool, similarly to the appointment of the head of a Chapter Nine Institution.

Which constituency office have been assigned to? Can you give examples of Constituency work you engaged in?

I have just been allocated a new constituency, Moqhaka and Nala Municipalities. Until recently I was allocated Ghariep, Kopanong and Letsemeng municipalities. My typical week starts on Mondays where I have to be in my constituency working with councillors and activists to address issues facing communities. A year ago, I organized a march in the Kopanong Municipality, Jagersfontein, where the community had been lacking water service since 2013. Subsequent to that, I took part in dealing with protests in Koffiefontein which were affecting final examinations in five schools because of a shut down. I also conducted public meetings with communities to hear them out as they were voicing their frustrations around service delivery. Concerns from communities are subsequently brought to Parliament as motions, questions or petitions. I also do portfolio-related oversight in various provinces, such as walking long distances with learners to school just to experience their struggle relating to lack of transport and the need to provide scholar transport.

Does Parliament do a good job of holding the executive to account? If not, what can be done to improve this? No. Parliament is a platform where the government can directly respond and answer to the concerns of the citizens. We have seen rampant corruption, lack of accountability, mismanagement of state funds and no convictions.

Are you happy with the proportional representation system or are you in favour of electoral reform? Our electoral system was chosen due to our history and the state of affairs in 1994. Being a highly divided and unequal society, the proportional representation is still relevant and as of now there is no need to change it.

What can be done to get citizens more interested/ involved in Parliament? Is this an area where Parliament can improve and if so, what recommendations do you have? What are you passionate about? This applies both in political/ professional arena as well as personally? It is worrisome that for such a young democracy like South Africa and its many challenges, voter participation is very low. There is, indeed, the need for the Independent Electoral Commission to implement a literacy program on constitutional matters which would eliminate voter apathy. I am passionate about education because it is the only instrument that will set us free.

What is your message to South Africa? Our Country is in crisis! We are mourning women and children who are being raped and murdered by men. Xenophobia has reared its ugly head once again. Our constitution enshrines the right to freedom from all forms of violence and that right applies to all who live in South Africa. We need to optimise the democracy we fought so hard for. Democracy works well when the electorate is active, politically aware and participating. My message is South Africans need not despair because of the many challenges we face. Citizens should get involved, question representatives and demand feedback and, most importantly, be active at the polls and vote with their heads.


Ms Thembisile Angel Khanyile

What is your political background? How did you come to join your political party and become an MP? I joined the DA in 2014 as an activist and later became a PR Councillor in Lekwa Local Municipality. I have also served as a Constituency Secretary and Opposition Whip at local council. I believe in hard work and dedication in fighting for people’s rights and restoration of their dignity. l later became a Member of Parliament where I continue to fight for our people’s rights, especially their right to have access to basic service delivery.

What does your job as an MP entail? What do you enjoy about being an MP? Mostly, we conduct oversight and hold departments to account. Currently, I serve on the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs. l do my best in ensuring the citizens of this country are properly documented and the Department assists them as early as they possibly can, and adhere to their turnaround times.

What are your or your party's aspirations/plans for the Sixth Parliament? To ensure we hold government to account; that every citizen and anyone entering the country is documented; and fighting unemployment.

Which Constituency Office have you been assigned to? Can you give examples of Constituency work you engaged in? I am currently in Lekwa Constituency. At the moment, l am trying to address a number of issues, which include but are not limited to: poor service delivery, cases of sewer leakages and inconsistent supply of clean water and electricity.

Does Parliament do a good job of holding the Executive to account? If not, what can be done to improve this? Parliament is doing a good job in holding the Executive to account. We need to ensure all recommendations made are implemented.

What can be done to get citizens more interested/ involved in Parliament? Is this an area where Parliament can improve and if so, what recommendations do you have? What are you passionate about? This applies both in political/ professional arena as well as personally? It should be ensured that every citizen is documented; be it in urban or rural areas. We need to ensure people in the rural areas are not forgotten. Further, we need to secure our borders to ensure every person entering the country is properly documented and accounted for. Having a huge number of undocumented individuals affects service delivery, especially in hospitals and municipalities. I am passionate about improving people’s lives.

What is your message to South Africa? If we combine our efforts, we can make South Africa better for everyone who lives in it. We can be the change we want to see because we are the ones we have been waiting for!


Mr Werner Horn

What is your political background? How did you come to join your political party and become an MP?

I served as a councillor of the DA in the Mangaung Metro between 2006 and 2014, and became a Member of Parliament in the National Assembly thereafter. My involvement with politics and the decision to become a public representative was and is still motivated by my firm belief that if we are to build a South Africa where every citizen has a fair chance to succeed in life, we must strengthen governance and governance structures in such a manner would assist and enable development and economic growth.

What does your job as an MP entail? What do you enjoy about being an MP?

The duties of Members of Parliament in the National Assembly, who are not part of the Executive, is threefold: Firstly, one serves in portfolio and other committees of Parliament where the task is to hold the Executive accountable and to process draft legislation before it is debated and voted on in the House. Secondly, you are allocated a constituency by your party, where you are expected to assist residents with queries and to work with other public representatives in the other two spheres of government to try and ensure service delivery. Thirdly, you have a duty towards your political party, which entails serving in and building structures to ensure its functionality and ensure growth.

What are your or your party's aspirations/plans for the Sixth Parliament? Being the official opposition the DA strives to hold the Executive to account while working towards strengthening our constitutional democracy and setting the agenda of Parliament in such a manner that governance and economic failures and weaknesses are addressed.

What obstacles prevent Parliament from doing its work and how would you fix it? Parliament is largely hamstrung by the manner in which Members of the governing party are unwilling and unable to fully embrace the duty to oversee the Executive. Robust mechanisms in committees of Parliament to oversee the Executive are seldom employed, if at all, because Members of the governing party largely believe it’s their duty and responsibility to protect and shield the Executive. The only way to fix this is to change the system in order to make Members of Parliament directly accountable to the electorate, rather than to their parties. This will only be achieved if Members of Parliament are elected by geographical constituencies.

Which Constituency Office have you been assigned to? Can you give examples of Constituency work you engaged in? I am responsible for the Mangaung West Constituency. My constituency work typically centres on assisting residents with service delivery queries dealing with national departments like Home Affairs, the South African Police Service, the South African Social Security Agency and Education. Given the massive service delivery failures of the Mangaung Metro over the last few years I also deal with many enquiries of residents who bear the brunt of the collapse in delivery of basic services from the Metro.

Does Parliament do a good job of holding the Executive to account? If not, what can be done to improve this? In addition to having Members elected directly by constituencies, as aforementioned, I believe a number of other measures can ensure that members of the Executive are held accountable more effectively. Questions and Reply sessions to the Executive would be much more effective as a measure of holding the Executive to account if Ministers are allowed to answer any follow-up questions, rather than only questions directly linked to the original question. The unwillingness of presiding officers to direct members of the Executive not to evade and obfuscate when answering oral questions, is also a massive factor preventing Members of Parliament from properly scrutinising executive action.

Are you happy with the proportional representation system or are you in favor of electoral reform? As aforesaid, I believe our democracy will only be strengthened if the way in which Members are elected is changed.

What can be done to get citizens more interested/ involved in Parliament? Is this an area where Parliament can improve and if so, what recommendations do you have? What are you passionate about? This applies both in political/ professional arena as well as personally? I believe citizens will be more interested in participatory democracy if there is ample evidence that their opinions are taken seriously. I would, for example, want to see that all members of the public who comment on bills and draft budgets, even those who are not invited to give a formal representation at public hearings, must be informed formally, in writing, on what the outcome of the process of consideration of their input was, and if their proposals are not incorporated, reasons must be supplied.

What is your message to South Africa? We may be a country faced with many problems, but we must remain hopeful and convinced that we can create a society in which all of us, if we work hard, can have a fair chance of succeeding and realise our dreams.


Mr Ockert Stefanus Terblanche

What is your political background? How did you come to join your political party and become an MP? I moved down to Mossel Bay after I left the SA Police Service at the end of August 2010. I held the rank of Major General. During the Local Government Elections (2011), I assisted the DA in Mossel Bay with their campaign and was later elected as the Ward Chairperson for Ward 10 Mossel Bay.

What does your job as an MP entail? What do you enjoy about being an MP?

In Parliament, we as MPs represent the people of this country. We are responsible for lawmaking and oversight, keeping the Executive to account and are also responsible for our constituencies allocated to us individually.

What obstacles prevent Parliament from doing its work and how would you fix it? Parliament is a very important institution. We must observe and uphold its dignity and encourage robust debate.

Which Constituency Office have you been assigned to? Can you give examples of Constituency work you engaged in? I have served the party in many constituencies. Currently, I am responsible for Prince Albert. Job creation is our number one priority.

Does Parliament do a good job of holding the Executive to account? If not, what can be done to improve this? The opposition is trying its best. However, Cabinet Ministers are not always informed.

Are you happy with the proportional representation system or are you in favor of electoral reform? The current system is best under the prevailing circumstances in South Africa.

What can be done to get citizens more interested/ involved in Parliament? Is this an area where Parliament can improve and if so, what recommendations do you have? What are you passionate about? This applies both in political/ professional arena as well as personally? MPs must try to focus on issues that are best for citizens of this country.

What is your message to South Africa? Dear South Africans, let’s work hard to build one South Africa for all!


Mr George Michalakis

What is your political background? How did you come to join your political party and become an MP?

I got involved in politics on campus at the University of the Free State and joined the DA in 2007. I was one of a very small group of liberal students during a very rough time in the university’s history. Trying to bring people together as individuals- each with unique qualities and values- to create something good has been what motivated me then and it still does today. I became a municipal Councillor at the age of 23 in 2011, and came to Parliament three years later.

What does your job as an MP entail? What do you enjoy about being an MP?

Our job is simply to hold the Executive to account and to make good, sensible laws for South Africa. However, the ultimate goal of this is to ensure every person lives their best life with as much individual freedom and opportunity as possible. We’re still a far away from creating this for everyone, but because our job relates to the hopes and aspirations of the people, the part that I enjoy the most is getting to meet and to know as many of the wonderful people we represent as possible. We really have wonderful people in this country!

What are you or your party's aspirations/plans for the Sixth Parliament?

It is all about creating a better country for everyone who lives in it, really. We will do everything we can with the tools to our disposal to contribute towards this. Jobs, safety and opportunities for every single person should be the main focus. Of course we will also seek to lay the foundation for a future (better) government that can realise these aspirations. I can only hope that the Sixth Parliament will be a battle of ideas that will ultimately seek to take our country forward.

What obstacles prevent Parliament from doing its work and how would you fix it?

Speaking from a perspective of the NCOP, I think that a lot of work still needs to be done to ensure that we do not simply copy the work of the National Assembly, but that we firstly understand the role of the NCOP and, secondly, fulfil this constitutional mandate. From the DA’s side, we are committed to this, but it will take an effort across party lines to change the current ineffectiveness.

Which Constituency Office have you been assigned to? Can you give examples of Constituency work you engaged in?

I am very proud to represent the areas in which Masilonyana and Tswelopele municipalities fall. I was born and raised in Winburg and my family has had ties with Hoopstad for decades, both of which fall within my constituency. My constituency is comprised of six small Free State towns with the warmest, friendliest and most hard-working people you will ever come across and I am proud to not only represent these communities, but to regard myself as part of the community.

I make it a point that I am available for person interactions with constituents over weekends, on Mondays and during constituency periods, although our job is a 24-hour one, so it is not unusual to be in contact with constituents even on days when I am in Cape Town. However, it is important to visit the constituency as much as possible to see problems first hand. As Helen Suzman said: go and see for yourself! This is the only way in which we can really represent the people who live in our constituencies effectively.

Does Parliament do a good job of holding the Executive to account? If not, what can be done to improve this?

I think that Parliament’s role is vital in keeping our democracy robust and to build trust between the public and our democratic institutions. However, I do think that party loyalty, especially on the part of the governing party, is sometimes placed above the interest of the people in Parliament - and wrongly so! We should definitely look at ways in which the committees can be more robust in their scrutiny of the Executive - this is, after all, where the bulk of the work takes place.

Are you happy with the proportional representation system or are you in favor of electoral reform?

The DA has in the past proposed legislation that would bring the system more in line with the recommendations of the Van Zyl Slabbert Report. The recommendations of this report and the process of electoral reform has been stalled by the ANC for 16 years already and for no reason. We do need to have a system that will make MPs more accountable to the people that they represent. I cannot imagine how you can be an effective MP when you only regard yourself accountable to your party and not to the people who elected you as well. My DA colleagues and I certainly try our best to do both.

What can be done to get citizens more interested/ involved in Parliament? Is this an area where Parliament can improve and if so, what recommendations do you have? What are you passionate about? This applies both in political/ professional arena as well as personally?

We, as MPs, can be on the ground in our constituencies as much as possible. I try to make use of every opportunity to inform my constituents - regardless of which party they vote for - about ways in which they can take part in the legislative process and/or to bring issues that are important to them to Parliament. If we don’t make our work more transparent and more accessible, we would defy the whole purpose of a democratic Parliament. Keeping the public informed and explaining to them how Parliament works also goes a long way in helping with this. However, there is still a lot of work to be done. In this regard, I also think that entities such as PMG do a wonderful job in building that communication network and enhancing transparency.

I get very excited at the prospect of meeting interesting people and seeing interesting places. It challenges the way you see the world and your ideas that ultimately leads to better ideas and (best case scenario) a change for the better. I think that is part of why I enjoy my job so much. Linked to this is my passion for travelling and reading and of course, debate and good conversations not only on politics, but anything really. We only have a limited time on earth. I would like to spend it enriching my own life with as many ideas and experiences as possible whilst at the same time using those experiences and ideas to leave this place a bit better than when I found it (even in a small sense).

What is your message to South Africa?

We have a beautiful country. Division, corruption, hate... this is not who we are. We have a brilliant future ahead of us if we choose to make it a reality; if we embrace each other, work hard for it and demand nothing but the best from those who are chosen to lead our country. The power lies with all of us to unite and build a better future.


2020: Top 10 most anticipated dates in the Parliamentary Calendar (so far)

With just a decade left to achieve what we’ve set out for ourselves in the National Development Plan 2030, this year also happens to be the last year of the National Youth Plan 2020. With that in mind, there is no doubt that this year's State of the Nation Address will draw attention from a much wider crowd.

The President will deliver the State of the Nation Address (SONA2020) on the 14th of February, to a joint sitting of the National Assembly (NA) and the National Council of Provinces (NCOP).

The infographic below shows the ten most anticipated events in the Parliament’s first term calender.

2020NBDATES


Mr Dennis Richard Ryder

"We have a fantastic country that is worth fighting for. I think people tend to despair with the decline that is happening in our country, but my message is to keep fighting. We can fix South Africa!"

What is your political background?

I was the Mini-Mayor of Bedfordview in 1983. I have always been on committees and assisting in elections for the Democratic Party (DP) and then the Democratic Alliance (DA). I was elected to serve on the Ward Committee in Midvaal and later elected as a ward Councilor in 2011 in the Midvaal Local Municipality. I served as the Chief Whip of Council from 2011 to May 2014 and was then appointed to the Mayoral Committee, responsible for Engineering Services. I was then elected as a Deputy Mayor of Midvaal Local Municipality until July 2017 when I was elected to Parliament and served in the National Assembly in the Fifth Parliament. I have now been re-elected and serve in the National Council of Provinces in the Sixth Parliament.

What does your job as an MP entail? What do you enjoy about being an MP?

The job of an MP has many different components and the one that everyone is aware of and sees is the role that we play in Parliament, where we attend committees that we are assigned to. We exercise oversight over the executive arm of government. The main focus of the public is on parliamentary sittings, although this is not where the real work is done; the real work is done in committee meetings. As an MP, I also have a big responsibility to my constituency in Emfuleni. I have a role as a public representative to the people in those areas by coordinating political activities and making myself accessible to them. I serve in the Select Committees on Appropriations and Finance and I am also a member of the Joint Standing Committee on Defence. I am happiest when I am debating ideas, and so the engagement in committees drives me, as well as the many informal chats and discussions with colleagues across the political divide.

What are you or your Party’s aspirations /plans for the Sixth Parliament?

As mentioned I am now in the National Council of Provinces, and I am enjoying it thoroughly. I now have a very different role to play and feel that I am able to represent my constituency a lot better through closer interaction with the Executive. I really hope to drive issues that are meaningful to my constituents, the people whom I represent and who put me here and make a real difference by making government relevant to peoples’ daily lives.

What obstacles prevent Parliament from doing its work and how would you fix it?

The ability of Parliament to hold the Executive to account is limited by the fact that Ministers often choose not to attend meetings and do not present themselves in Parliament for questioning. The lack of consequences means that there is no real incentive for them to do the right thing. In addition, I think that not enough MPs from the governing party are willing to stand up to the Executive, and hold them to account. The result is that instead of doing oversight, many MPs use their majority in parliament to allow the Executive to do as they please. That is one of the reasons that we are in the trouble we are in as a country. Ideally, all MPs should be working in the interests of the people that put them in Parliament rather than in the interests of their parties. I think a move to a constituency representative electoral system would go a long way to fixing that.

Which constituency Office have you been assigned to? Can you give examples of Constituency work that you are currently engaged in?

I already indicated that I have been assigned to Emfuleni South, south of Gauteng. The Emfuleni Municipality has been in the news a lot recently due to under-performance and of course for allowing the sewage system to deteriorate to a point where there is over a hundred megalitres of raw sewage flowing into the rivers EVERY DAY. There is no shortage of issues to drive and we are trying to get the municipality to go under administration to resolve the governance issues.

Does Parliament do a good job of holding the executive to account? If not, what can be done to improve this?

I partly answered this earlier. The Constitutional Court, the Public Protector and the Zondo Commission have all decried Parliament’s failure to hold the Executive to account. I think that stronger consequences for non-attendance at Parliament, for Members’ statements as well as for Question Time, will start to bring some accountability. The protection of the Executive by the Speaker and party-aligned MPs also needs to end…. I think the Hon Modise is better than Baleka Mbete, but there is still a lot of room for improvement.

Are you happy with the proportional representation system or are you in favour of electoral reform?

As I said earlier, I think a constituency representative system will go a long way towards making MPs more accountable to their electorates. The ideal system, certainly for transitional arrangements, would probably be a hybrid of party lists and constituency elected representatives. It is clear that most South Africans are frustrated with the electoral system, especially the youth, and we are not inspiring them to come out and vote. Turnout drops with every election. Change is needed.

What can be done to get citizens more interested/involved in Parliament? Is this an area where Parliament can improve and if so, what recommendations do you have?

The Fifth Parliament certainly started to popularise Parliament, but then also harmed the image of the institution due to ineffective control. Social media and channel 408 have made Parliament more accessible, but I think that people are often frustrated by processes. I think when people see real, relevant issues being debated, that will be where interest is sparked. So spending more time on petitions and public inputs will go a long way to really making us the Parliament of The People. Some programming changes will need to happen, but this would be welcome. Parliament has spent far too much time on recess in the last two years and this has impacted the amount of work that could have been done. More plenaries with more time dealing with the people’s issues is what I think we need.

What are you passionate about? This applies both in a political/professional and personal arena?

I am passionate about justice. Justice is about ensuring that the right thing happens. You cannot complain unless you get your hands dirty and involved. I am passionate about horse-riding and being a good South African. I am passionate about my family and my community.

What is your message to South Africans? We have a fantastic country that is worth fighting for. I think people tend to despair with the decline that is happening in our country, but my message is to keep fighting. We can fix South Africa!




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