by Pamela Maringa
I had the opportunity to engage in a conversation with one of the most influential and resilient woman in South Africa, a woman who stands by her moral convictions against all odds: Dr Makhosi Khoza. She has shown us that is it alright for women to have a voice. She agreed to do an interview with me on the Jesuit Institute Hour on Radio Veritas. In our conversation, we talked about many things, from her position as a Member of Parliament (MP) for the African National Congress (ANC), to her childhood and her relationship with God.
Dr Makhosi Khoza was fired as a chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Public Service and Administration by the ANC. This happened after she supported the motion for the removal of President Jacob Zuma in the eighth vote of no confidence against him on 8 August 2017. Just before the motion, she had received death threats which she believes was a way of trying to silence her. None of these threats made her change her mind about what she believes to be right. She said: “I am the voice of the people, I am for the people, I stand for the majority of South Africans as I made an oath to serve them.” She talked about her dream of a corruption free country. She said that ANC needs to go back and think about why it was founded in the first place. She argued that the party must listen to the people who voted it into power.
Dr Makhosi was not the only one who was outspoken about voting against the president, but she was the only one who was fired. She is certain that she was fired from her job because she is a woman and she spoke out against a man: Jacob Zuma. She mentioned the names of anti-apartheid activists, like Helen Joseph and Lilian Ngoyi, women who stood up against the injustices of apartheid. This is why in the month of August, South African’s celebrate ‘Women’s Month’. The irony is that she was fired in the same month for fighting for the rights of ordinary South Africans. She said her assignment as an MP is to honour those who have fought for the freedom that we enjoy today.
One other thing I found very interesting about Dr Makhosi, aside from politics, is her relationship with God. The first answer she gave when I asked her who she was is “I’m a child of God”. Dr
Makhosi grew up in a Christian family with both her parents who taught her how to pray and live the Christian life. Growing up, her family didn’t have much. She only got to wear her first pair of shoes when she went to grade eight. She said she is grateful for her humble beginnings because they helped shape and prepare her for the challenges she’s facing today. These experiences have deepened her relationship with God.
On the 10 September 2017 Dr Makhosi will stand before the ANC disciplinary committee for fighting for ordinary South Africans. I asked her what South Africans can do to support her. Her exact words were: “Pray for me”. She asked people to pray for her as she wants God to reveal to her how best she can serve the people of this country. This, she added, is whether or not she leaves or stays within the ANC.
From this conversation there are couple of things that I took away with me. I learnt that it is alright to be different, just because corruption seems to be a norm, you can choose to stand against it instead of supporting it. I also learnt that a relationship with God gives our success more meaning. It’s not just about accumulation of wealth, but it’s about finding a way to serve God within my profession.
South Africa needs more morally conscious leaders who will create an inspiring vision of the future, leaders who are not greedy and self-serving.