Top ANC man quits
Speculation Skwatsha supporters being purged
A TOP ANC leader has resigned his seat in the provincial legislature – the second in less than a month – fuelling speculation that the party is being purged of Mcebisi Skwatsha supporters.
Former education MEC Yousuf Gabru, a veteran anti-apartheid activist who was the ANC’s spokesman on education, confirmed he would be leaving the legislature at the end of next week.
His shock move comes only two weeks after another ANC stalwart, former finance MEC Garth Strachan, quit the legislature.
Strachan is taking a post in the Department of Trade and Industry. Gabru, however, said he was not moving into any new position.
“I haven’t decided what to do next. But I’m hoping to make some contribution in education.”
Gabru said he had been at the Western Cape legislature for 15 years, and it was time to move on.
Neither Provincial Task Team leader Membathisi Mdladlana nor ANC leader in the legislature, Lynne Brown, could be reached for comment, while Strachan declined to comment.
The DA does not believe the timing of Strachan and Gabru’s departures are coincidental.
“Clearly there is something going on behind the scenes that we are not aware of,” said Premier and DA leader Helen Zille.
“Gabru and Strachan are two of the ANC’s most experienced legislators. I assume it’s an internal purge of Mcebisi Skwatsha supporters, who are leaving before the noose tightens around their necks.”
When Strachan left, there was also talk that he had “jumped before he was pushed”.
Gabru was appointed Education MEC by then-premier Lynne Brown in August 2008, shortly after the ANC fired its former premier, Ebrahim Rasool.
He held the position for nine months until the ANC was booted out of power by the DA in last year’s elections.
He returned to the legislature after April as an ordinary member. Gabru was a regional co-ordinator of the United Democratic Front and served as an executive member of the SA Democratic Teachers’ Union. He has been a MPL since 1995, serving on several committees, including the health and education committees. He also once held the position of deputy Speaker.
The Western Cape ANC is currently in disarray as the Provincial Executive Committee headed by Skwatsha was suspended in July. Gabru had served on the Provincial Executive Committee from 1994 until it was dissolved.
The ANC in the province is led by Labour Minister Mdladlana’s “provincial task team” which includes Gabru.