Top ANC man quits

Spec­u­la­tion Sk­wat­sha sup­port­ers be­ing purged

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - ANDISIWE MAKINANA and LEILA SAMODIEN

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.

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