Ringo the changes: muso joins surprising list of new MPLs
From a Chinese-born businesswoman to a student, picks for legislature seats are interesting, to say the least
A Chinese-born businesswoman, a 21-year-old student from Welkom in the Free State, a Fees Must Fall leader and a popular musician are among those set to be part of SA’s new generation of lawmakers.
Dr Xiaomei Havard, who joined the ANC Women’s League 12 years ago, popular musician Ringo Madlingozi, 21-year-old Wits student Karabo Khakhau, and Fees Must Fall leader Naledi Chirwa have all made it onto political party lists.
Xiaomei came in at number 130 of the ANC list, ahead of a number of prominent party leaders, including current ministers and former ministers. Her position on the list could be the ticket to a seat in parliament in Cape Town since the ANC walked away with 230 seats in the National Assembly after general elections last week.
Havard, who came to SA about 20 years ago to study, said she made it to the list because the ANC believed in diversity.
“The fact that I am on this list tells that I might go represent the ANC in the national parliament. I am excited to make it to the list but the ANC will decide who they want to go there,” she told Times Select.
Prominent ANC leaders such as Mike Masutha, Godfrey Oliphant, Ebrahim Patel, Humprey Mmezi, Hendrietta Zulu, Mzameni Mdakane, Yunus Carrim, Khusela Sangoni, Ben Martins, Bulelwa Tunyiswa, Humprey Maxegwana, Ngoako Ramatlodi and Ruth Bhengu are all below her on the list.
Originally from Henan province in Central China, Havard is married to a South African and has been here for the past 20 years.
“I came here to study and ended up falling in love with South Africa. I was nominated by people as the person they trust and who can represent them,” said the businesswoman, who holds a PhD in computer science from the University of Johannesburg and a master’s degree in electrical engineering from China.
She has also served on several Chinese business forums and Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China and SA) forums. According to her Twitter profile, she is co-president of the SA-China Famous Female Business Council and Honorable President of Africa Federation of Chinese Women in Commerce & Industry.
In the Free State, the Democratic Alliance surprised many by having Khakhau, a fourth-year bachelor of science student at the University of Cape Town as the youngest provincial member of the legislature in SA. The 21-year-old, who is from Welkom, was number two on the DA's list for the Free State legislature.
The fulltime student, majoring in sociology and social development and who has been active in student politics, said she was happy to make it to the legislature.
“This was not expected at my young age but this is because of the DA’s belief in young blood. I have been advocating for young women who have been disadvantaged,” she told Times Select.
She said she would focus on education, health, economy and social development.
“Politics to me comes naturally. There’s a passion for this and we need development and a holistic balance and approach to usher in new direction,” said Khakhau.
“The vision for the DA is to create a South Africa for all, looking at diversity representation. The youth are at the centre of any growth plan.”
The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) presented some surprise names on its list for the National Assembly, such as Madlingozi and Chirwa, a Wits university student leader who was part of the Fees Must Fall campaign.
Madlingozi was in position 39 on the EFF list submitted to the IEC and Chirwa was number 30. The EFF secured 44 seats in the sixth parliament.
EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said earlier its list was the result of a rigorous democratic process that included each candidate being subjected to an internal secret ballot “from the CIC [commander in chief] Julius Malema, to the rest of the fighters”.
Ndlozi said the list had continuity and change, meaning it retained hard-working MPs but also added “young revolutionaries”, particularly from the Fees Must Fall Movement.
“Thus, it is constituted by a tried-and-tested collective of fighters, who have cut their teeth on the picket lines of the economic emancipation movement,” he said.
The DA’s Gwen Ngwenya, former head of policy, announced on Thursday she would not return to parliament.
“I have decided not to take up my seat in the 6th Parliament," she tweeted. “Before policy development I worked in fintech (financial technology), and I’d like to work now on issues at the nexus of tech and public policy."
Ngwenya previously served as head of policy for the DA and she was a member of the Standing Committee on Finance in the fifth parliament.
In her message to the incoming MPs, Nwenya said: “There are great people who will be on those benches, and I wish the DA a successful term.”
Ngwenya is also former COO of think tank the Institute of Race Relations.