Young guns out to fight for youth in Bhisho: Daily Dispatch

Vicky Knoetze

Vicky Knoetze

A NEW generation of young leaders will be welcomed into the Bhisho Legislature tomorrow when four MPLs in their 30s are sworn in.

The youngest of the three is the DA’s Vicky Knoetze, 32, who will also be the youngest of the 63 MPLs to take oath.

Other young leaders who will grace corridors of the legislature in the next five years include the ANC’s 33-year old Fezeka Nkomonye, Economic Freedom Fighters provincial leader Themba Wele, 34, and Young Communist League’s provincial secretary Mluleki Dlelanga, 35.

Nkomonye, a former ANC Youth League provincial treasurer, worked as chief of staff at finance MEC Phumulo Masualle’s office until recently. This is her second stint in the legislature after she was sworn in as the youngest ever MPL in Eastern Cape in 2009 at age 28.

However, she had to vacate the seat in November 2010, when amid a provincial cabinet reshuffle, she, former agriculture MEC Mbulelo Sogoni and former education MEC Mahlubandile Qwase, had to resign their seats at the behest of ANC provincial leadership.

They made way for Thandiswa Marawu, Zoleka Capa, and Helen Sauls-August who were plucked from municipalities and sworn in as MPLs before being appointed MECs, all in the same day.

Speaking to the Dispatch yesterday, Knoetze said she was going to spend her five years in Bhisho, “fighting and pushing for issues affecting mostly young people of this province”. Born in Johannesburg in 1982 to parents who came from the Eastern Cape, Knoetze matriculated from Kempton Park High in 2000.

She moved to the Eastern Cape to study and eventually graduated with an LLB degree at the then University of Port Elizabeth.

She worked at General Motors and Toyota in Port Elizabeth before becoming a DA councillor in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metroafter the 2009 local government elections. Now married and living in Jeffrey’s Bay, Knoetze is expected to juggle her legislature duties with studies as she is currently enrolled for master’s degree in public administration with University of Pretoria.

Knoetze said during this five-year term she will focus on assisting in developing the province’s economy so that more jobs are created.

“Unemployment is one of the thorny issues affecting many young people in the province,” she said.

“I would love to make a huge success of this first five years I will be privileged to spend here.”

She said she hoped to carry out her work in a manner which would inspire other young people to take up politics.

Knoetze will join other MPLs at an East London beachfront convention centre for a day long orientation process this morning.