During her time as a councillor and leader of the DA caucus in the Dr Beyers Naude Local Municipality, Samantha Graham-Maré was well-known for positive contribution to the affairs of Graaff-Reinet and the surrounding towns. Last week it was announced that, as a DA Member of Parliament, she has been appointed as the new Constituency Leader for the Municipality, which will ensure that she is still actively involved in an area very close to her heart.
After the President has appointed his Cabinet for the new term, the DA appoints what they term a Shadow Cabinet. While this is not a recognised structure, it allows the DA to assign MPs to do proper oversight and offer an alternative policy viewpoint on specific portfolios. The appointments are made by Mmusi Maimane as the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament. While Cabinet and Deputy Cabinet Ministers are paid substantially more than ordinary MPs, the Shadow Cabinet does not receive any additional monies. They receive the same salary as normal MPs.
To her amazement and delight, Graham-Maré has been appointed as the Deputy Shadow Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure. “As a new MP, I was expecting to be an additional member on a portfolio” said Graham-Maré. “I am thrilled to be given Public Works as I am particularly interested in the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) and the Community Works Programme (CWP). I hope that in my new role, I will be in a position to make a difference in these programmes and ensure that they are operated more effectively and with less corruption.”
She went on to explain something of the importance of her new department, which also encompasses all state-owned properties, including schools, hospitals, police stations and even empty land. It is what is termed an “enabling department” as every single other department requires Public Works to do their work.
The Public Works Committee will also be involved in the deliberations around the Expropriation Bill, which will be one of the most important pieces of legislation in the sixth Parliament.
Induction for all 400 Members of Parliament started on Tuesday, and will continue for the rest of the week. Next week is the State of the Nation Address (SONA) at which time, President Ramaphosa will open Parliament. The following week, the new MPs will get down to work in their Committees, dealing with budgets. “It is going to be a very busy few weeks, but I am really excited for what lies ahead” concluded Graham-Maré.