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New DA MPL sworn in

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As a youth and LGBTQI+ activist, and a budding young leader in the DA, the party was very excited to have Mokae joining the legislature team

NEW MEMBER: The Democratic Alliance in the Northern Cape welcomed Ofentse Jeremiah Mokae (right) as the newest Member of the Provincial Legislature. Picture: Supplied

OFENTSE Jeremiah Mokae was sworn in as the newest Member of the Northern Cape Provincial Legislature in Kimberley yesterday.

Mokae, who comes from Galeshewe, cut his teeth in active politics as a Congress of SA Students (Cosas) youth leader and 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, Mokae 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. Mokae also served on the Higher Institutions Section Committee for the Western Cape Province.

In 2011, while still a student, Mokae formally joined the DA and 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 co-ordinator and later as a researcher for the party in the Northern Cape Provincial Legislature.

Mokae was selected to participate in former US president Barrack Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) as part of the Mandela-Washington Fellowship. He was amongst 500 young people across Sub-Saharan Africa in 2014 in this programme.

He subsequently travelled to the US and studied Public Management at 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.

Mokae’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.

Mokae 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.

Mokae 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 programme 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.

DA provincial leader Andrew Louw said yesterday that as a youth and LGBTQI+ activist, and a budding young leader in the DA, the party was very excited to have Mokae 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.”