CAPE TOWN - The Democratic Alliance (DA) is set to send the youngest MP since 1994 to Parliament. At just 24, Geordin Hill-Lewis will set a record when he is sworn in as an MP next month.
Mr Hill-Lewis takes over from Willem Doman, who has retired.
The DA is hoping to attract more younger voters in the 2014 election. Earlier this year, party leader Helen Zille said young people "are emerging as a key factor in our politics".
Mr Hill-Lewis, who survived a gruelling selection process to land a post usually dominated by senior members of the party, is the current chief of staff in the DA leader's office. He holds an honours degree in politics and economics from the University of Cape Town and is a former student representative council member.
Mr Hill-Lewis said yesterday that he was looking forward to the responsibility and would work towards representing the youth.
"I am excited about it but at the same time I am conscious of the huge responsibility I have to exercise."
He hoped to contribute to changing SA's current brand of politics.
"South Africans generally are bored (with) the current brand of politics. They are looking for a brand that is future-focused and I share that vision and I am excited to work towards it."
Mr Hill-Lewis has not yet been allocated a portfolio committee but he said he would be interested in the economics cluster.
"I am also interested in a broad array of social issues and I will apply myself to whatever portfolio committee I am allocated to," he said.
DA parliamentary leader Athol Trollip described Mr Hill-Lewis as "one of the brightest young people in our party".
"I hold him in the highest regard. He has a long track record of political activism and he will bring a very young constituency that the DA wants to tap into."
Mr Trollip said he was looking forward to working with Mr Hill- Lewis in Parliament. "It was a fiercely contested selection process and he is there on merit. His age is not a constraint at all," Mr Trollip said.
Independent political analyst Daniel Silke said yesterday it was a positive move by the DA to select a young MP. "A lot of young people feel excluded and it is critically important for all parties to encourage young people to take up such positions."
He said Mr Hill-Lewis's selection as an MP would aid the DA's drive to attract younger voters. "We need a constructive younger group of MPs that can alleviate some of the concerns of young people."