Ask the gov­ern­ment? You mean Dad

The daugh­ters of two se­nior politi­cians tell us what it is like to have a father who is in Par­lia­ment

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - NEWS - AMANDA MALIBA

EVER won­dered what it is like to be the son or daugh­ter of a min­is­ter or a se­nior politi­cian?

As South Africans cel­e­brate Father’s Day today, In­de­pen­dent Me­dia spoke to the daugh­ters of two prom­i­nent politi­cians.

Lethabo Mot­soaledi, the daugh­ter of Health Min­is­ter Aaron Mot­soaledi, spoke about life with her father, whom she de­scribed as a de­mand­ing and un­com­pro­mis­ing man.

“My dad is a very stern and hon­est man,” said the 23-year-old.

“When I was in my ma­tric, to­wards the end of the fi­nal ex­ams, I asked him, ‘Dad, will I get a car if I do well?’” He said ‘You can’t ex­pect me to re­ward a fish for swim­ming.’ He’s al­ways got a strict de­meanour even in light­heart­ened sit­u­a­tions.”

“He is very funny in a strict way and I think it is be­cause his hu­mour is so dry.”

Be­ing a child of a min­is­ter can bring added pres­sure, but Lethabo com­mended her father for rais­ing them “in a nor­mal way”.

“The only pres­sure is to en­sure my suc­cess is gen­uinely mine, and for me not live in his shadow.”

As health min­is­ter, Mot­soaledi oc­cu­pies ar­guably one of the tough­est port­fo­lios in gov­ern­ment.

Lethabo ac­knowl­edged this meant he was al­most al­ways away from his fam­ily.

“When he comes home, you re­alise that he has a rou­tine. He just wants to cook his spe­cial meal and then watch TV. With all of us want­ing his at­ten­tion, it is only fair for us to fit what­ever we want to do into his sched­ule.

“For in­stance, I know that when my dad goes to read, my lit­tle sis­ter will also grab a book and sit with him and also read. That is qual­ity time.

“We have com­pul­sory events that we have to go to.

“Like spend­ing ev­ery New Year with him. He gets very up­set when we don’t. I think one thing he did re­ally well was in­stil the value of spend­ing time with fam­ily.”

Lethabo sends mes­sages of love and ap­pre­ci­a­tion to her father for all the things he has done for her and the rest of the fam­ily.

“And a lot of my hard work and am­bi­tion is in­spired by him.”

Tshep­iso Phosa, the daugh­ter of for­mer ANC trea­surer and Mpumalanga premier Mathews Phosa, said she had re­alised her father’s true stature only when she was at univer­sity.

“We knew what he did, yes, but never re­alised what cal­i­bre it reached. And I used to strug­gle a lot with him be­ing so busy when I was a child. I never used to un­der­stand,” said the 26-yearold, en­tre­pre­neur.

“We were raised in a hum­ble home. We grew up in Nel­spruit and my mom tried to give us a very nor­mal life. The more we un­der­stood what he does, the more we ap­pre­ci­ated him.

“I then re­alised that South Africa needed him also and there­fore are happy to share him with the coun­try.”

She de­scribed her re­la­tion­ship with her dad as “al­ways very close” and said a lot of her char­ac­ter had been in­flu­enced by him.

“He was very strict with us, es­pe­cially about education. He al­ways made sure that we worked hard be­fore get­ting any­thing, and that taught us valu­able lessons.

“I’ve learnt to never give up, to al­ways stay fo­cused and never al­low any­one to tell me oth­er­wise.”

She at­tributes her work

‘When we are at home he is just a nor­mal father ‘ ‘I am happy to share him with the coun­try’

ethic to him.

Tshep­iso runs a fill­ing sta­tion and daddy has the habit of drop­ping by to keep tabs.

“When we are at work, we all know it is time to be se­ri­ous. But when we get home, he is a nor­mal father. We can ask for ad­vice from him, we go out for lunch and do other nor­mal things to­gether.”

The Phosas al­ways make it a point to share break­fast and lunch. “I also ex­er­cise with my father. Even though I some­times think he over­does it.”


Health Min­is­ter Aaron Mot­soaledi and his daugh­ters, from left to right, Mathabo, Lethabo and Modiegi.


Pres­i­den­tial hope­ful Mathews Phosa and his daugh­ter, Tshep­iso, an en­tre­pre­neur who runs a fill­ing sta­tion.

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