Dying diggers of Namaqualand need saving
|by Andrew Louw MPL – DA Northern Cape Provincial Leader|
|Date: 11 September 2019|
|The Democratic Alliance in the Northern Cape is excited to welcome Ofentse Jeremiah Mokae as the newest Member of the Provincial Legislature.Ofentse, like me, hails from Galeshewe, Kimberley. Download pictures here, here and here.He cut his teeth in active politics as a COSAS youth leader and given his leadership capabilities he was elected local secretary for the student body in the Sol Plaatje sub-region in 2006. After matriculating from Thabane high school, he furthered his education at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, where his activism grew and he participated in the South African Students’ Congress. He also joined the Students’ Christian Organisation where he served as a Student Development Affairs Officer. In this role, Ofentse was tasked with spearheading leadership-training seminars aimed at identifying potential future leaders. He also organised a Students’ Governance Summit addressed by National Directors of the organisation. Ofentse also served on the Higher Institutions Section Committee for the Western Cape Province.By 2011, Ofentse formally joined the DA whilst still a student. He devoted his energies to the various campaigns of the party, most notably the much publicised march against the Protection of State Information Bill, popularly known as the Secrecy Bill. After completing his studies, he had a stint with the party as a Parliamentary Support Officer, assisting National Assembly Members with basic research and driving issues in their various portfolios, using mechanisms such as oral and written questions, member statements and motions.He then relocated to his home town of Kimberley and continued his activism in the DA where he joined the first ever DA branch in Ward 5 and was later elected to the executive committee as a secretary. In 2013, he was appointed as a field worker for the DA in Kimberley before his eventual appointment to the position of Provincial Youth Coordinator and later as a researcher for the party in the Northern Cape Provincial Legislature.Ofentse was selected to participate in the US President Barrack Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) as part of the Mandela-Washington Fellowship. He a was amongst 500 young people across Sub-Saharan Africa in 2014 in this programme. He subsequently travelled to the United States of America and studied Public Management at the Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland. The aim of the programme was to support an emerging generation of African leaders as they work to drive economic growth, enhance democratic governance and strengthen the civil society structures that will help the continent grow and prosper.Ofentse’s first foray into electoral politics occurred in 2016 when he won a seat as a PR Councillor in the Sol Plaatje City Council on the DA ticket. At just 29-years of age, he was the youngest member of the 19-strong DA caucus. He quickly learned a great deal about municipal politics and was recently elected to the position of Caucus Whip.|
Ofentse holds a National Diploma in Journalism as well as a B-Tech degree in the same field specialising in politics and editorial management. He also holds certificates in conflict resolution, media policy and strategic management and is currently studying for a Diploma in Local Government Law and Administration at the University of Fort Hare.Ofentse is also an activist in the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer and Intersex (LGBTQI+) community and is enrolled in the Political Leadership Training Institute with the Triangle Project in Cape Town. The program aims to empower young individuals who are elected into public office to champion the issues and struggles of the LGBTQI+ community in the political space.As a youth and LGBTQI+ activist, and a budding young leader in the DA, we are very excited to have Ofentse joining the legislature team. We are confident that his contribution on especially the youth and gender fronts will ensure that, especially on a legislative level, we become a more relevant mouthpiece for the youth and marginalised communities, to ensure that the challenges faced by these communities are raised and given the attention that they deserve.I wish Ofentse well on his new journey and have no doubt that he will do the DA proud.