Elza van Lingen DA’s choice to steer Kouga

2016-03-03 06:00
Elza van Lingen.                  Photo: SUPPLIED

Elza van Lingen. Photo: SUPPLIED

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THE dynamic and passionate DA Member of Parliament, Elza van Lingen, is the local Democratic Alliance’s (DA) choice to steer the Kouga as the Executive Mayor should they be victorious in the upcoming local municipal elections.

The Kouga Express found out more about Van Lingen, who has, over the years, instilled confidence among her fellow DA-members and residents by showcasing true leadership and an unquenching desire to help those less fortunate.

How long have you been living in Cape St Francis?

We moved to Cape St Francis in 2000. Our very first visitor was in fact Chimpie Cawood from the DA. He was doing door-to-door campaigning for the party and enrolled us as members.

Why did you get involved with politics?

I was first approached to join the world of politicians when we still lived in Middelburg many years ago. However, at that stage my children were my biggest priority.

When we relocated to Cape St Francis, I complained madly about the quality of the water. All our white laundry had 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 service delivery and the 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 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 District Municipality).

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 and MPLs grew to 19 in the Eastern Cape and therewith our Constituencies grew smaller. Now my Constituency is Tsitsi-Kouga which comprises only 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 six “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 four 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 MPs 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 for which Jaco Londt from the Western Cape is responsible. Willem Faber handles Transport, Internatio-nal 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 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, crea-ting a confident climate for investment and job opportunities as well as building a strong and vibrant inclusive community in Kouga.

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