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DA MP quits to cast net wider

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iol news pic Gareth Morgan

INLSA

DA MP Gareth Morgan has quit his position. Picture: Ian Landsberg.

The position of DA MP Gareth Morgan, who has announced he is resigning his seat, will not be filled immediately. DA KwaZulu-Natal leader Haniff Hoosen said the internal process of appointing a new MP from the province would start once he had Morgan’s official resignation letter.

Morgan, pictured, the longest-standing member of Parliament’s water and environmental affairs committee, is to end a nine-year career as an MP at the end of this month.

His resignation comes hot on the heels of that of DA policy analysis and development head, Gareth van Onselen, who is leaving to pursue his writing.

Van Onselen writes a weekly column for Business Day and his blog “Inside Politics”, was recently voted the best political blog in the SA blog awards.

Hoosen said the DA’s internal processes made it “impossible” to say who would replace Morgan, as it had “been designed over years to reduce canvassing”.

“Anyone could apply and anyone could be selected. But the party and branch leaders are generally mindful of the strategic direction the party wants to pursue,” he said.

Morgan, a former Rhodes scholar, was elected to the National Assembly in 2004 at the age of 27, but Hoosen said his replacement would not necessarily be chosen only from the crop of young leaders in the province, which included figures like Mbali Ntuli, Nicole Graham and Sizwe Mchunu.

Morgan told Independent Newspapers yesterday he would be open to returning to Parliament, but not as a member, expressing interest in being appointed in a “political advisory capacity” in the party or in the Western Cape government where DA leader Helen Zille is premier.

“Since I was 10 years old I wanted to be an MP. My desire for public service hasn’t diminished at all. I’m excited about the contribution I’ll make in the future, even though it’s not clear right now what role it may be,” he said.

“The DA is now a very a large organisation and it is attracting significant new talent to the party. Among others, the Young Leaders programme which Ryan Coetzee and I helped establish in 2005 is bringing out a stream of young talent into the party.

“I’m confident that now and going into the future there’s going to be much higher competition for vacant positions from talented individuals.”

Business Day quoted the chairman of the water and environmental affairs committee, ANC MP Johnny de Lange, as saying Morgan’s resignation was a “huge loss”.

Morgan said De Lange was the “best chair” he’d worked with in his nine years at Parliament.

“He allows proper discussion on matters and is not fearful of allowing considerable space for opposition members on the committee, unlike many other ANC chairs in Parliament.”

Cape Argus


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