24 May 2019

South Africa: Some of the New Faces in Parliament's 'Shady Pines', the NCOP

Some of the veteran parliamentary journalists refer to the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) as Shady Pines - the old age home in the 1980s television series The Golden Girls - because the institution rarely compares to the National Assembly in terms of vitality. However, there are some new faces in the 6th Parliament's NCOP that might just shake things up a bit.

Yunus Carrim (ANC, KwaZulu-Natal)

Carrim was minister of communications from 2013 to 2014, and deputy minister of cooperative governance and traditional affairs from 2009 to 2013. He was also a long-serving member of the National Assembly, chairing the Standing Committee on Finance in the 5th Parliament. Apart from bringing his wealth of experience as a legislator and a member of the executive to the NCOP, he will surely also liven up the debates he participates in.

Tim Brauteseth (DA, KwaZulu-Natal)

A forensic investigator by trade, Brauteseth joined the National Assembly in 2014 as a DA member. He served on the important watchdog committee - the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) - where he often put his forensic investigating skills to good use, as several civil servants found out the hard way.

Andrew Arnolds (EFF, Western Cape)

If ever there was someone to whom the moniker political chameleon applies, it is Capetonian politician Andrew Arnolds. Then, a member of the ACDP, Arnolds became deputy mayor of Cape Town in 2006 in the coalition government of the DA's Helen Zille. He relinquished this post in 2007 to save the coalition to allow Patricia de Lille's ID the position of deputy mayor, with Simon Grindrod taking up the position. In 2014, he was on Agang's electoral list for the Western Cape Legislature. He was the party's provincial deputy chairperson. In 2016 he returned to the Cape Town City Council, this time as a member of the EFF. He is currently the EFF's Western Cape secretary.

Sylvia Lucas (ANC, Nothern Cape)

As Northern Cape premier, Lucas was automatically the leader of her province's delegation to the NCOP. However, on Thursday she was sworn in as a permanent delegate and also elected deputy chairperson of the NCOP. "Ms Lucas has an illustrious history of leadership in the Northern Cape, in the African National Congress (ANC) and the ANC's Women's League," Parliament said in a statement, not mentioning that her "illustrious history of leadership" included using her official credit card to spend R53 159 on fast food during her first 10 weeks in office. However, EFF MPs and supporters in the public gallery were quick to remind her. In 2015, the Equality Court in Upington found that Lucas was guilty of hate speech and unfair discrimination and she has been ordered to apologise to the Khoi and San people after using the racial slur "hotnot".

Kenny Motsamai (EFF, Gauteng)

A former member of the PAC's military wing, the Azanian People's Liberation Army (APLA), Motsamai spent 27 years in jail until he was released on parole in 2017. The PAC and Motsamai have always maintained that he was a political prisoner who contributed to the liberation struggle and that for him to remain in prison in a democracy was unjust. They argued that the murder of which Motsamai was convicted in 1989 happened during the struggle against apartheid. Motsamai was imprisoned for killing a white traffic officer in Rustenburg during what APLA called a sanctioned bank robbery.

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