DA’s Natasha Mazzone gets candid about life outside parliament

From family to parliament, I had a one on one interview with Democratic Alliance Natasha Mazzone.

In the spirit of Women’s Month, we celebrate Women’s Day on 9 August as it marks the anniversary of the legendary 1956 Women’s March, where women marched to the Union Buildings to protest against the carrying of passbooks.

Today we commemorate this day in history nationally, and the government has dubbed August as “Women’s Month”. Let us take a look at one of the powerful women in the Democratic Alliance (DA) today.

DA’s Shadow Minister of Public Enterprises

Mazzone got candid and gave me full details of what it means to be a woman in parliament and still assume her role as a wife, sister and friend.

“I’m very lucky that I fell in love with, and married a fellow member of parliament, so he understands what I do and why I do it.  Politics is tough on family, I am very close to my brother and sister. I consider their children as my own, I don’t have my own children and that certainly makes the traveling easier.

It’s also very important to have a strong friendship structure outside politics. My friends are very supportive and my father and mother play a tremendous role in my life. They have made it easy for me to always reach further than I thought I could, because I always know that they will be there to catch me if I fall. I am very aware that I am incredibly fortunate and I am deeply grateful for the love that surrounds me. “

Natasha Mazzone, DA Shadow Minister of Public Enterprises

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JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA – AUGUST 11: Democratic Alliance (DA) member Natasha Mazzone during an interview on August 11, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa – Photo: Gallo Images / Sunday Times / Alon Skuy.

Breaking barriers in a traditionally male-dominated field

Women’s month further gives Mazzone a chance to reflect and appreciate the bravery shown by the class of 1956.

“It was at this point that woman began to play an absolutely pivotal role in the liberation struggle, and take up their place as true patriots and defenders of human rights. It reminds me, that I stand on the shoulders of giants and I dare not fail them. ”

Natasha Mazzone, DA Shadow Minister of Public Enterprises

A day in Parliament: “it’s anything but predictable”

Mazzone has many roles she embodies throughout her days, as a Whip in Parliament, to deputy chairperson of the DA’s federal executive, as well as her role as MP of Public Enterprises,  it’s safe to say her day gets really busy.

“An average day starts at the office located in Parliament at 08:30. I normally check in with the DA Chief Whip and the DA Parliamentary Operations Officer to discuss legislation and events happening during the day. My portfolio starts at 10:00 on a Wednesday, or we will meet on a Tuesday if there is a particular need.

The Committee begins at 13:00, thereafter we have a lunch break and head into the Chamber for the Parliamentary sitting.

There is an enormous amount of work that is done in advance of each portfolio meeting, as you need to be prepared and have read all the documentation before you attend the meeting.

My Parliament days are very long as we often sit in the Chamber until the late evening. No one day is the same; some days are question and answer sessions, some days are debates, some days are to deal with legislation, so it’s anything but predictable.”

Natasha Mazzone, DA Shadow Minister of Public Enterprises

Women are rising up in every corner of the globe

Women have been emancipated and have turf in places of political power, such as Parliament. There are emerging powerful women in every corner of the globe.

“We are breaking the glass ceiling that has been in place for many years. We do not need men to give us a hand up, we must just rightfully take up our positions.

Sometimes I find we limit ourselves by what we think we can or can’t do. I am a proud feminist. I don’t require a quota to ensure I’m elected, I don’t believe in quotas. I will get my position because I deserve it.”

Natasha Mazzone, DA Shadow Minister of Public Enterprises

Natasha Mazzone: “There is nothing that a male politician can do that I can’t”

I further probed Mazzone and my dying question was to find out if she was ever treated differently in the traditionally male-dominated political landscape.

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Natasha Mazzone speaking in South Africa’s parliament. Photo: Parliament South Africa / YouTube screenshot

“I personally have never been treated differently, but I think that is due to the fact that I belong to a liberal political party. I also think that my character would never allow me to be treated differently. I have never expected special treatment, because I believe I don’t need it.

There is nothing that a male politician can do that I can’t, so we compete equally. The only time I do notice a difference is when strong woman are referred to as difficult or aggressive, but a strong man is referred to as assertive and powerful.

It also cannot be ignored that more attention is paid to a woman’s appearance than a man’s. I was outraged when a Sunday paper referred to my election within the DA as “blonde ambition”; that would have never happened to a man.”

Natasha Mazzone, DA Shadow Minister of Public Enterprises

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