Cape Town - The Patriotic Alliance’s candidate for premier, Shirley-Ann Mouton, says she is nothing special.
But this is exactly what the 39-year-old mother from Clanwilliam believes makes her ideal for the role.
“I don’t have money. I don’t have a high education because of my background. But I know how my people are living. You can only relate to poverty if you’re living in it. I’m passionate about my people,” she told the Cape Times on Monday.
It emerged at the weekend that Mouton was the Patriotic Alliance’s candidate for premier.
The newly-launched party, a national political party focusing on coloured residents in the Western Cape, is headed by ex-convicts Gayton McKenzie and Kenny Kunene.
At the weekend McKenzie, the party’s president, said former Hard Livings gang leader Rashied Staggie had become a member of the party.
On Monday, McKenzie said he believed Mouton’s nomination as candidate for premier was “a wise decision”.
“She has a deep love for poor people,” he said.
Mouton, a married mother of three and a senior integrated human settlements officer at the Cederberg Municipality, said she was born in Clanwilliam and still lived there.
She had previously done volunteer work in her community and when she was younger she had worked on farms.
“I was in the ANC from the age of 15. I was fighting this unfair apartheid,” Mouton said, adding she had been detained once or twice in her teens for rebelling against apartheid.
She had always been politically active and many years ago had been deputy secretary of the ANC Youth League in her area.
Mouton said she knew what it was like for politicians to focus on only certain people leaving others “not being seen and not being heard”.
She said about two months ago the Patriotic Alliance had been in the area as part of a road show and she attended.
“At that stage I felt that here is a party I want to belong to,” Mouton said.
“I strongly feel it’s time for our people to stand up. When I say ‘our’ people I mean coloured people.”
Mouton said she was honoured that she had been nominated as the Patriotic Alliance’s candidate for premier.
She was ready for the challenge it could present and was prepared to travel with the party’s leaders to talk to as many people as she could.
She said labelling the Patriotic Alliance as a “gangster party” because of its leaders and members was “absolute nonsense”.