Our People/Members of Parliament

Dianne Kohler Barnard

Whip
Shadow Minister of Police

Born in Port Elizabeth, Dianne Kohler Barnard has 23 year’s experience as a radio and print journalist and has travelled the world extensively.  She has lived in both the United States and the United Kingdom, but chose finally to settle back in the land of her birth.

Working for the SABC, she ran the KwaZulu-Natal offices of the English language Public Broadcaster, SAfm radio. In addition to management, she both presented and produced numerous programmes.

From 2001, she took on the role of Chairperson of BEMAWU-KZN (Broadcast, Electronic Media and Allied Workers’ Union), dealing with any and all labour issues of SABC-KZN BEMAWU members, as well as East Coast Radio members.

Within the SABC, she was also a founder member of the inaugural SABC HIV/Aids Committee – and responsible for formulating much of the SABC HIV/Aids policy document.  She was also on the Gender Committee, the Security Task Force, and the Regional Management Committee.

Once political interference in the broadcasting of her programmes by the ANC government began to resemble similar tactics by the National Party at the SABC in the ‘80s, she elected to go into politics, and joined the DA, where she was elected to Parliament in 2004.

She began her career as an MP as the Spokesperson on Arts and Culture, and quickly progressed to the position of spokesperson for Health. She became outspoken in her support for the distribution of Antiretrovirals as the only proven means to deal with the Aids pandemic, as well as her condemnation of the myriad charlatans who produce fake “cures” for the deadly virus.

Kohler Barnard has also been the DA’s representative on the SADC observer mission to Zimbabwe for the last two elections in that country.

She went on to take over the most challenging portfolio in the country, namely Safety and Security.  She says that crime, and what it’s doing to South Africa and her citizens, is her focus for the future.

On her re-election to Parliament in 2009, she was appointed as Shadow Minister of Police.

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