- Liezl Linda van der Merwe
- Member: National Assembly (Parliament)
- (021) 403 2911
- [email protected]
Committee(s): Joint Committee on Ethics and Members’ Interests, Parmed Board of Trustees, Portfolio Committee on Women in the Presidency, Portfolio Committee on Social Development Portfolio Committee on Communications, Portfolio Committee on Telecommunications and Chief Whips Forum.
Place of birth: Cape Town
Constituency: GreenPark, Cape Town / Ulundi
Member of Parliament since: 2012
From age 10, I took a keen interest in politics. During the eighties, at the height of South Africa’s struggle against apartheid, I read everything I could find about the leaders of our struggle. It was during this time that I first became interested in Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi and the Inkatha Freedom Party.
After school, I left for London. I briefly returned to study journalism, but went back to the UK in 2005 to work for UK news broadcaster ITV, in London.
Upon my return from London at the end of 2006, I joined the IFP as a media officer. I took up membership of the Party and joined the IFP Youth Brigade. I became a Member of Parliament (MP) in 2012.
During the past ten years, I have not only been an IFP activist but have championed the cause of the most vulnerable in our society. I serve as Parliamentary Whip, and as a Member of the IFP National Council – the highest decision-making body of the Party. I also hold membership of the IFP Women’s Brigade. Going forward, I hope to play a significant role in ensuring that more young people become active in politics through the IFP.
I am assigned to serve the IFP in the Western Cape. But I also attend to constituency work in Durban and Ulundi, KwaZulu Natal.
Constituency work is challenging and humbling. One of the most interesting parts of this work has been the opportunity to get to know many new people, on a much closer basis, and to share in their daily challenges and hopes for the future.
One of the most challenging parts of this work is working in communities, which have extremely high unemployment rates, limited access to running water and no electricity. Two members of my constituency for example have been on housing waiting lists for the past 18 years. Trying to correct these wrongs is why constituency work is such a fundamental part of our roles and responsibilities as Members of Parliament.
How can Parliament be more effective?
The fifth Parliament reminds me of the traditional Chinese curse, “May you live in interesting times”.
We certainly do find ourselves in interesting times. It is both a blessing and a curse! While I appreciate the fact that citizens are taking a keener interest in the business of Parliament, and that the fifth Parliament has so many young MPs, I regret the fact that with a more robust Parliament, leaders at times treat one another with disrespect and disdain. The fact that constructive debate has been replaced by threats and insults is disconcerting.
‘Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts’ Winston Churchill
‘Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’ – Martin Luther King
‘Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results not attributes’ – Peter Drucker
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