Cape Town - ANC stalwarts Lynne Brown, Max Ozinsky and Mcebisi Skwatsha have bid the Western Cape legislature farewell after more than a decade in provincial politics.
While Brown and Skwatsha will be sworn in with more than 240 other ANC MPs on Wednesday during the first sitting of the National Assembly, Ozinsky’s career in the legislature has come to an abrupt end after the ANC garnered only 14 seats.
Ozinsky was number 16 on the party list.
Many ANC loyalists agreed Brown and Skwatsha’s move to the National Assembly was overdue but they were sad to see Ozinsky go.
The formidable trio each had a rich and colourful history in the legislature, with Brown seen as “a reliable politician, Ozinsky as an “excellent debater” and Skwatsha as an “effective party leader”.
Brown, who was premier in 2008, said she had had a good innings in the legislature, which she joined in 1994 aged 32, straight from the trenches of activism. She said being faced with the “apartheid enemy” of former years and occupying seats with them in a democratic South Africa was daunting. But she understood the need to build an inclusive SA.
“It was clear we had to work with the ‘enemy’ back then.”
Brown has served the provincial parliament in several capacities including as a Member of the Provincial Legislature, standing committee chair, deputy speaker, speaker, MEC, chief whip, whip, premier and leader of the opposition.
One of her biggest challenges came in her days as speaker when she had to welcome a former security policeman who had investigated and arrested many of her underground comrades.
Among the lows was having to investigate and having heads of departments probed and arrested for corruption in the Nisec tender scandal, which at the time was the social development department’s instrument for grant distribution.
Brown said her greatest achievement in the legislature was stopping the sale of Somerset Hospital.
Skwatsha, who also served the legislature in several positions, gave the opposition an uphill battle as he tackled issues of long queues at state hospitals and inferior medical services in poor areas.
Previously Skwatsha was MEC for transport and public works and later became his party’s spokesman on the issue.
He will in particular be remembered as caucus chair and deputy chief whip of the ANC in the legislature between 2009 and 2011.
Skwatsha said last night his move to the National Assembly was an “even bigger challenge” than that of the legislature.
Ozinsky’s future prospects are less glamorous than those of his colleagues: he plans to focus on building the ANC Cissy Gool branch and having more time for sailing.
Ozinsky was elected to the legislature in 1999, first dealing with environment and planning before becoming chief whip in 2005 up until 2009.
Since then he’s been the ANC spokesman for the standing committee on public accounts (Scopa). His highlight as MPL was when the ANC finally became a government through its alliance with the NNP.