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By Editorial staff


Time will tell on McKenzie pledge

Gayton McKenzie, leader of the Patriotic Alliance, promises to donate his parliamentary salary to a charity, following the example of Mandela and Ramaphosa.

Nelson Mandela did it. And so did Cyril Ramaphosa. Now for someone who is a political novice to be in that league – or even mentioned in the same breath – has followed suit.

That person is Patriotic Alliance (PA) leader Gayton McKenzie, who was has undertaken to donate his parliamentary salary to the Joshlin Smith Foundation for missing children when he takes up one of the nine seats his seemingly burgeoning party won in the general election in May.

As a member of parliament, the former Karoo mayor is set to earn R1.27 million annually after President Ramaphosa signed off on a 2.5% pay increase just hours before the elections.

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Saying he is able to do it because he has other streams of income every month from his investments and businesses, McKenzie’s move is the morally upright thing to do – and we hope it is not just politicking but his way to put the money where his mouth is.

But this could be a calculated political move, with McKenzie playing his cards right to appeal even more to the voters, who are likely to see him as a reformed gangster with a heart of gold.

It is no secret that the PA founder spent 17 years in prison for armed robbery, which he uses in his widely-reported and popular motivational talks; and writes about in his books.

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McKenzie follows in the footsteps of Mandela (who donated a third of his salary as South Africa’s first democratically-elected president to found the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital).

When he took the country’s highest office, Ramaphosa took it a notch up, pledging half his salary to a fund in memory of Madiba – the Nelson Mandela Thuma Mina Foundation.

But here’s the catch. McKenzie’s vow comes with conditions.

He has previously said he would boycott parliament if his coalition demand to be given the home affairs portfolio is not met. Only time will tell.