I am very inspired and happy – new ANC Western Cape MPL

2016-11-09 21:02
Nobulumko Nkondlo, 44, with her mother Elizabeth as she is sworn in as ANC MPL in the Western Cape legislature. She fills vacancy left by embattled leader Marius Fransman (Credit Jenna Etheridge, News24)

Nobulumko Nkondlo, 44, with her mother Elizabeth as she is sworn in as ANC MPL in the Western Cape legislature. She fills vacancy left by embattled leader Marius Fransman (Credit Jenna Etheridge, News24)

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Cape Town – When she was being sworn in as an ANC member of the Western Cape legislature on Wednesday Nobulumko Nkondlo said she felt the gravity of the moment. 

"As I was doing the oath, it was a moment I felt was very serious and important because I am making a commitment to South Africans."

Nkondlo, 44, has racked up a number of professional achievements in her career but said she feels happiest serving the people in Cape Town. She was born and raised in Gugulethu.

"This is my home. I love my province and I love my people. I see a huge role to contribute to the space, into the politics," she told News24.

Her inauguration followed the resignation of embattled ANC Western Cape leader Marius Fransman as a member of the provincial legislature, but not as the leader of the ANC in the Western Cape.

Nkondlo, who said she felt inspired and happy, took the oath with her 63-year-old mother Elizabeth and daughter Amanda, 19, a university student, at her side.

Political activism

Provincial ANC officials Khaya Magaxa, Faiez Jacobs and Pierre Uys offered her a warm welcome into the fold.

As a student in the 1980s, the pain of not being able to attend a secondary school in Claremont sparked her political activism.  

"My mom was a domestic worker, so my profile could not fit, so I was not allowed," said Nkondlo, who is the oldest of three children.

"It triggered something in my mind because I was very excited. Teachers saw the potential in me, but the system didn't allow it because of my circumstances."

Instead, she completed her matric at Gugulethu Comprehensive High School.

She rose through the ranks of the ANC Youth League as a provincial secretary from 2004 to 2006. She also served as the first female chairperson of the National Youth Commission in the Presidency until 2009.

Disjoint between people, policy

Her last position was director of youth and transformation in the Department of Public Enterprises.

Nkondlo serves on the ANC's provincial executive committee, heading the provincial policy sub-committee.

With a diploma in public management and administration, she says she is keenly aware of the disconnection between the people and policy.

"The basic struggle is getting to the point where we can translate the needs of the people into policy."

Nkondlo said her role was to make people aware of their rights to participate in these processes. It was also about showing them they could hold people accountable without having to set things alight.

"The majority of people do not know how to participate in the state without violent protests," she said.

Respect for party processes

Being a leader was about living up to responsibilities and never missing an opportunity to learn from criticism, she said.

"Like a seed, you must go under, you must be watered, you must withstand the heat, rain and wind so you come out as a better crop for people to enjoy and satisfy their hunger," she said, adding that some of the challenges in politics today stemmed from leaders not wanting to go through that process.

Fransman was asked to step aside after he was accused of sexually harassing 21-year-old Louisa Wynand while they were travelling to the party's January 8 celebrations in Rustenburg.

He is currently awaiting the outcome of an internal disciplinary process against him.

Nkondlo said she respected the party's internal processes and did not believe the "negativity of Marius as a person and whatever he has done" had become the negativity of the ANC.

This was not the first time the party has had to deal with leaders with "personal limitations", she said.

"The ANC is a very big organisation. The ANC has enough wealth of wisdom and experience to navigate that." 

Read more on:    anc  |  marius fransman  |  cape town  |  politics

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