From 21 to 90 - Age ain't nothing but a number in parliament

Mangosuthu Buthelezi
Image: ESA ALEXANDER

The age gap between the youngest and the oldest member of parliament in the sixth post apartheid administration is a staggering 67 years.

And between the two extremes, stands two men from different parts of KZN - the oldest MP being 90-year-old IFP leader Mongosuthu Buthelezi and the youngest Sibongiseni Ngcobo, 23, of the DA.

The two are from Zululand and uMgungundlovu districts respectively. This was revealed on Wednesday as the Independent Electoral Commission chairperson Glen Mashinini handed over the list of 830 people (400 to national assembly and 430 to NCOP) heading to parliament to the Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, who in turn handed it over to the secretary of parliament.

This means that Ngcobo, the youngest MP, was not yet born when Buthelezi became an MP for the first time in 1994. Mashini also revealed that the youngest member of provincial legislatures (MPL) will be the 21-year-old Karabo Khakhau, who will represent the DA in the Free State legislature. Mashinini said it was fitting that the handing over of the list was at the Constitutional Court because “our electoral democracy is firmly rooted in our constitution and the rule of law”.

“Twenty-five years after our first democratic election we can proudly say as a nation that we remain firmly rooted in democratic ideals that we adopted in 1994 and our country remains a shining beacon of democracy and human rights for all,” he said.

In accepting the list, Chief Justice Mogoeng said it appeared that the IEC had done a good job in conducting the elections.He said that this was however dependent on the outcome of the court challenge by disgruntled parties who are challenging the fairness of the elections following the arrest of several people on suspicion of voting more than once.

“I just want to pause and appreciate the IEC for a job well done for the look of things; there is no guarantee what the outcome would be should your decisions be challenged but from the look of things you’ve done well,” said Mogoeng.

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