How long have you lived in Cape St Francis?
We arrived here in 2000. Our very first visitor was in fact Chimpie Cawood, doing door to door and enrolling us as members.
Why did you get involved with politics?
Many years ago in Middelburg EC, I was approached to get involved, but my children was more important to me at that stage. When we came to CSF, I complained madly about our water quality and all our white laundry with red-brown iron oxide stains.
The late Prof Cas Terblanche asked that I joined the Cape St Francis Civic Association, which was a great experience.
Our main focus was on our service delivery and our environment. We had a huge battle to have our nature reserves declared as such and I thought that getting into the official structures would improve our options.
In about 2002 Ben Rheeder approached me to join the DA’s team and only after the third attempt was I elected as a DA Councillor to the then Cacadu District Municipality (Sarah Baartman DM).
How did you land up in Parliament and being the leader of the DA in Kouga?
I served as a District Councillor for about six years before I was democratically elected by the DA to serve in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) during the 2009 Elections.
In November 2011, I was elected the Leader of the DA in the NCOP and re-elected again in 2014.
When one becomes a Member of Parliament (MP) or a Member of a Provincial Legislature (MPL) one is allocated a “Constituency” to nurture, grow the DA and address issues from the constituency in parliament.
My first constituency was Tsitsi-Kouga which included Kouga, Koukamma and Baviaans. The DA support grew phenomenally and in 2014 our MPs & MPLs grew to 19 in the Eastern Cape and therewith our Constituencies grew smaller. Now my Constituency is Tsitsi-Kouga which comprise only of Kouga and Koukamma.
What was your role in Parliament and how can the Kouga benefit from your experience there?
In the NCOP we are only 54 permanent MPs and we are 6 “delegates” from each province with representation based on the proportional vote outcome of the last Elections. I am the only DA representative for the Eastern Cape, there are 4 ANC MPs and one from the UDM.
There are about 38 portfolios to cover each government department and in the National Assembly (NA) it is easy to divide 400 MP s into 38 portfolio committees. However in the NCOP, the portfolios are clustered together and our Members are allocated to get fair provincial representation in each cluster of portfolios.
I serve together with two other DA colleagues on the cluster for Small Business, Trade and Industry and Labour, which Jaco Londt from the Western Cape is responsible for. Willem Faber handles Transport, International Relations and Tourism. Energy, Economic Development and Public Works are my portfolios.
How does Kouga benefit from your involvement?
The NCOP is the House of parliament where local government and provincial matters are elevated to a national level and we drive our issues in all the portfolios in each of the clusters and by asking questions and doing motions in the house on particular issues.
Issues like poor local government performance, sanitation, housing, funding for bulk infrastructure upgrades, energy, provincial and national roads, education, specific schools with poor results or lack of books or teachers, health, scholar transport, school infrastructure, SAPS matters, judicial issues and illegal deductions from government social grants are driven often as Kouga issues and some as provincial issues.
All these affect Kouga in a direct or indirect way and as one can see, they are not all related to my allocated portfolios.
What is your vision for Kouga?
Kouga will under DA governance be caring, offering increased opportunities, be well-run, have improved safety and be inclusive as well as forward thinking.
Our vision for Kouga is to dedicate ourselves to ensuring exceptional municipal service delivery and maintaining and replacing old infrastructure for all people, create a confident climate for investment and job opportunities as well as building a strong and vibrant inclusive community in Kouga.