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Durban - Have women suddenly acquired an overriding interest in economics? Hardly likely. What has caught their attention is DA spokeman on finance Tim Harris’s hot looks and boyish smile. Some distinguished grey at the temples helps.
Harris trended on Twitter this week after his State of the Nation appearance.
So how does this 34-year-old MP and holder of a master’s degree in economics from UCT deal with adulation? Does he have to contend with sultry come-on looks from the Parliamentary benches?
“I’m pleased South Africans are finally paying attention to the DA’s economic policy,” he quipped drily.
Does he think his “hot hunk” status can work to the party’s benefit?
“As long as more people are realising that the DA has a credible plan to get economic growth up to 8 percent in 10 years and help create six million jobs, I am happy.”
As to guarded looks of admiration from female parliamentarians, he joked: “The ANC MPs on the other side of the house generally look pretty unhappy with the opposition.
“Minister Lindiwe Sisulu once hit me with her handbag outside Parliament, although I think she meant it as a joke and didn’t realise her own strength.”
Was he ever a shy, pimply youth, or did he have to fend off girls even in his early teens?
“I went to an all-boys school many kilometres away from the nearest schoolgirl,” was his reponse.
Cape-Town born Harris grew up in Durban and attended Hilton College outside Pietermaritzburg. In 1998 he moved to Cape Town.
He says nobody is stopping him in the streets, but acknowledges they are popping up more on Twitter.
It’s possible he read TV personality Claire Mawisa’s tweet: “Jesus, why would you give us Tim Harris, only to find out that he’s married? Why?”
TV and radio personality Pearl Thusi said: “Tim Harris is the only man allowed to take selfies in the world. But he doesn’t… *swoon*”
Does he have any aces up his sleeve which could turn his new status to the DA’s advantage?
“All of the DA’s MPs will be doing everything we can to win hearts and minds in the campaign.”
Harris’s wife, Cara Louise, said she was amused by her husband’s hot-stuff status, but not in the least surpised.
Asked whether she thought that he would make the list of the most eligible men in South Africa, she said: “Is he not on there already?”
”We met 13 years ago in a bar in Cape Town. I fell for him the moment he walked in. We went on our first date the following Tuesday and, as they say, the rest is history. It is our three-year anniversary on March 26.”
Did this attention make her a bit edgy?
“I don’t feel threatened. Don’t get me wrong, the attention is a great reminder of what a great catch he is.”
Despite all the media attention and Harris’s demanding job, she said he remains the most incredible father and her best friend.
The couple’s 20-month-old daughter, Neve, like all little girls, is delighted with the main man in her life. She points adoringly to the television screen when Harris makes an appearance. “Daddy… TV!” she gurgles.