DA Chief Whip John Steenhuisen says the Constitution of South Africa makes provision for ordinary South Africans to be elected to Parliament, be part of the lawmakers and represent the people.
This comes after a tug of war between Steenhuisen and the EFF, following a proposal by the DA in KwaZulu-Natal that only an MP with a university degree can be considered as chief whip of the party.
Steenhuisen's highest qualification is a matric certificate which means if the proposal is rubber stamped, he would technically be ineligible for that position.
He says an introduction of qualification rules will close opportunities for ordinary citizens to be part of the legislative process.
That would be a shame because we will end up with the elite - a very small percentage of South Africans who can afford to get university qualifications - making all the decisions for the country and I don't think that's a healthy democracy.— John Steenhuisen, DA Chief Whip
He says this proposal was not the view of the party but rather that of a particular individual acting as if they represented the party.
He says this was rejected by the DA as well as Parliament.
Parliament recognises that there are people who do not have formal qualifications and they should not be locked out of being public representatives in articulating hopes and needs of their constituencies.— John Steenhuisen, DA Chief Whip
Steenhuisen gave a brief background to his journey in politics.
He says he knew from a young age that he wanted to be a public representative and make a difference in people's lives.
At 22, he was elected into City Council in Durban and he is being part of the council for the past 20 years.
I reject this notion of Ndlozi and others that I am some kind of an uneducated pillock.— John Steenhuisen, DA Chief Whip
Over the course of that 20 years, I've done enumerable in-service training and vocational courses in municipal finance, ethics, legislative process including African economics.— John Steenhuisen, DA Chief Whip
Steenhuisen says he was never part of those who were mocking Julius Malema and Jacob Zuma for not having formal qualifications because he believes whoever is elected must be given an opportunity to serve their community.
To hear the rest of the conversation with John Steenhuisen, listen below:
No one is telling us as to why #Steenhuisen didn’t go to school despite all apartheid opportunities— Mbuyiseni Ndlozi (@MbuyiseniNdlozi) November 25, 2018
The answer is not because of a FINE MIND 🙄. If he had a one, he would be EDUCATED
With #WhitePrivilege he knew he could still rise without a DEGREE to elite echelons of society! https://t.co/nAcTlCAhh2
Too many unqualified whites in the DA posing like some sophisticated elites but they have never been to school, surviving purely on the basis on #WhitePrivilege just like #Steenhuisen https://t.co/UMQhEYJp1x— Mbuyiseni Ndlozi (@MbuyiseniNdlozi) November 25, 2018