Norton representative in the National Assembly, Themba Mliswa has defended the demands that have been made by MPs saying that since the other two arms of the state (Judiciary and Executive) enjoy privileges, Legislators are entitled to expect as much.
Mliswa said it is not fair to accuse legislators of greediness when others have it so good. He said
My view is that people representation should not be equated to destitution either should it be equated to self-aggrandisement. Overheads are incurred as with any other enterprise and being an MP is no exception, it is a cost centre.
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In fact, even more so during these economically challenging times where even the most basic constituency requirements that naturally should be catered for by the government are not being catered for and the deficit needs to be addressed.
The Executive and Judiciary receive a Discovery Autobiography (off road), Mercedes Benz and a Ford Ranger. Ministers receive the same three vehicles against MPs who receive one for the full five-year term.
As I see it one good, a safe, tough and durable land cruiser is therefore sufficient for all if we refer to austerity, I’ll leave you to draw any further conclusions.
He added that they worked diligently while poorly-resourced much like the efforts of doctors, nurses and teachers.
The very same people that complain that their legislators are not visible should be mindful of the restrictions faced by their MPs. The areas that their MPs need to cover in the effective delivery of their mandate cannot be covered by public transport as has been suggested in some quarters. It becomes imperative that the motor vehicles issue be addressed.
Which brings us to the crux of the matter, what calibre of representation do people expect to have? Interestingly, I have noted comments raised that MPs should be people who have the personal financial capacity and who are able to debate and effectively represent their constituent’s needs in Parliament.
This issue is a point of some difficulty for me as I must ask – well, who voted for people without their choice of credentials in the first place? I will let it be known and stated for the record that I was attacked for bringing up what was deemed to be a ‘preposterous’ suggestion during election campaigning when I said aspiring MPs should have degrees and their own auditable proof of wealth and capacity in order to be allowed to run for a seat.
I have always thought that such criteria would significantly curtail corruption and would promote a servant leadership credo in the legislature.
If the collective grouping of MPs was to this standard, the categorisation of MPs into a different standard of resourcing would be done away with.